The European Union Championships has started in Sofia, Bulgaria, with many of the participating nations looking for success in order to plan their teams before the important qualification year of 2015.

The Lithuanian national team looks strong after the preliminaries, while the young Slovakians achieved three surprise wins in Sofia, where 121 boxers are competing for the medals.

Bout of the day
Lithuania’s Tadas Tamasauskas’ skills have developed very well over the past 18 months, as he claimed a bronze medal in the 2013 Summer Universiade, and won two contests in the last edition of the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Almaty.

In March 2014 he won the Great Silk Way Tournament in Baku, and he is a boxer who needs to be watched ahead of Rio 2016.

The 25-year-old Lithuanian met with Ireland’s newly crowned National Champion Gary Sweeney in the opening preliminary round of the championships.

Tamasauskas was quicker than his Irish opponent, and his combinations reached the target several times in the first round, which determined their battle in Sofia.

The final verdict of their top level bout was a unanimous decision win for the Lithuanian boxer who advanced to the quarter-finals in some style.

Team of the day
The Slovakian delegation won three excellent contests in the preliminaries, which each of these wins achieved by their younger generation.

Firstly, AIBA Youth World Championships quarter-finalist Michal Zatorsky shrugged off his previous losses to Hungary’s two-time EUBC European Continental Championships bronze medallist and two-time Olympian Miklos Varga in a hectic battle.

Slovakian National Champion Matus Strnisko demonstrated his skills at the Grand Prix Usti nad Labem two months ago, when he was able to beat Ireland’s Darren O’Neill.

The 20-year-old young boxer continued his winning series in Sofia. where he eliminated England’s strong favourite Lawrence Osueke by split decision.

Slovakia’s third excellent victory was acquired by Grand Prix Usti nad Labem silver medallist Erik Tlkanec who eliminated Croatia’s AIBA World Boxing Championships quarter-finalist Marko Calic in their preliminary battle.

Surprise of the day
Belgium’s Lion’s Cup silver medallist Anas Messaoudi began his boxing career four years ago, and had only 28 bouts prior the European Union Championships in Sofia, but he caused a huge surprise in the preliminaries.

The 21-year-old Belgian Welterweight class (69 kg) boxer defeated Hungary’s newly crowned National Champion Laszlo Szilvai who has had more than one hundred contests during his career.

Ones to watch
Lithuania’s London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist Evaldas Petrauskas moved up to the Light Welterweight class (64 kg) following the Games, and his strength has improved accordingly.

The Lithuanian stopped Latvia’s Arturs Ahmetovs in a contest which lasted until two minutes into the second round.

France’s Youth National Champion Dylan Bregeon claimed a bronze medal in the Summer Universiade last year, and the 19-year-old French Heavyweight class (91 kg) boxer achieved his first national elite title in February, which gave him the right to compete in the European Union Championships in Sofia.

He started with a great triumph over the host nation’s National Championships silver medallist Hayat Rasim.

Tomorrow’s program
Boxers of the Middleweight (75 kg) and Super Heavyweight (+91 kg) classes will be in action on the next competition day in Sofia.