One of Europe’s most prestigious boxing events the 58th edition of the Bocskai Memorial Tournament, recently took place in Debrecen, Hungary. The biggest question was whether the Hungarian squad would able to repeat their excellent performance last year in the face of new international competition. The answer was an emphatic yes as the team won three gold medals.

Athlete of the tournament
London 2012 Olympic Games quarter-finalist Zoltan Harcsa  has been on form recently, having also advanced to the last eight in the 2013 AIBA World Boxing Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The 21-year-old Middleweight (75 kg) boxer returned after an injury and yet still showed his best form in the Bocskai Memorial Tournament where he was able to beat all of his four rivals in the event. Harcsa was too strong for Poland’s future hope Arkadiusz Szwedowicz in the semi-final and for his younger teammate Imre Bugyik as well.

Team of the tournament
The world’s current leading boxing nation, Kazakhstan, topped the team rankings at the AIBA World Boxing Championships on home soil but they sent a young team to the Bocskai Memorial Tournament. Nonetheless five of their inexperienced boxers advanced to the finals of the competition, which shows the depth of quality that the country is producing at the moment. Defending National Champion Adilet Kurmetov (52 kg), 19-year-old Yerzhan Ordabayev (56 kg) and Aslanbek Shymbergenov (64 kg) all claimed the gold medals in Debrecen whilst Nurdaulet Zharmanov (81 kg) and Erzhan Zhomart (49 kg) were runners-up in the event.

Surprise of the tournament
There were two in fact: The first was caused by Kazakhstan’s Aslanbek Shymbergenov who was only unveiled to the world of boxing two months ago when he claimed a silver medal in the Kazakh National Championships. The young athlete defeated AIBA Team’s Manoj Kumar who was the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and London 2012 Olympian to take gold event.  The second was caused by Russia’s U22 National Champion Rasul Gadzhimagomedov who is a relatively unknown athlete at international level but he beat Kazakhstan’s Summer Universiade bronze medallist Nurdaulet Zharmanov  in the final of the Light Heavyweight (81 kg) category.

One to watch in the future
Zsolt Daranyi won both the Canadian and the Hungarian Youth National Championships in the last two years, but has decided to fight for Hungary in the future. The Toronto-based Welterweight (69 kg) boxer introduced himself to the elite level following his successful youth career and proved that he had some serious skills against Russia’s defending EUBC European Youth Champion Tamerlan Magomedov in the final of the event which was his first international elite tournament.

Fact/stat of the tournament
It is interesting to mention there were not any knockouts in the tournament in spite of the fact that no headguards were used for the first time, following the change in AIBA rules last October.  The average age of the winners were 20.9 years which shows the next generation of our sport shined in the Bocskai Memorial Tournament.

Quote of the tournament
“I am satisfied with the performance of our boxers in the Bocskai Memorial Tournament where we won three gold medals in spite of the injuries which affected the team. European Champion Balazs Bacskai, European Youth Championships silver medallist Adam Hamori and Krisztian Nagy were all injured prior the tournament therefore our line-ups was not the best one in Debrecen. We have spent two weeks in Cuba to prepare for the year with one of the world’s strongest boxing nations and everybody could see the result of the training camp in Debrecen,”  – Dr. Sandor Csotonyi the President of the Hungarian Boxing Association.