The boxing tournament of the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games starts officially after the official weigh-in and the drawing ceremony on Saturday, August 23.
Boasting the top six athletes of all weight classes, top level bouts are to be expected from the 78 athletes who have qualified for Nanjing.
We are taking a look at some very exciting prospects who are taking part in the prestigious Games.
What: Youth Olympic Games
Where: Nanjing, China
When: 23-27 August 2014
The Tension and the Drama
Thirteen boxers won their weight classes in the lone qualification event, April’s AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in Sofia.
In the last edition of the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore four years ago, under half of the winners of that years Baku AIBA Youth World Championships won the gold medal in Singapore.
Will the latest crop of champions be able to claim double success and continue their golden path in Nanjing?
The most anticipated battle in the Youth Olympics
US teenage star, and current AIBA Junior World Champion and AMBC American Youth Continental Champion Jajaira Gonzalez was at her best in the qualification event in Sofia where she was able to beat all of her opponents in winning the gold medal.
The 17-year-old US Lightweight class (60 kg) boxer defeated the biggest star of the category, Sweden’s titleholder Agnes Alexiusson in Sofia.
Sweden have excellent women’s boxers, and their best future hope, Alexiusson has won the 2013 AIBA Women’s Youth World Championships, the 2014 EUBC European Women’s Youth Continental Championships and several other international tournaments during her career.
Alexiusson has raised the rhythm of her training sessions after her loss in the AIBA Women’s Youth World Championships, and since then she won all of her eight international bouts by unanimous decisions.
The Swedish starlet is looking for a rematch against Gonzalez to avenge her earlier defeat, which could be the highlight of the boxing tournament.
Ones to watch in the Youth Olympics
Poland’s Elzbieta Wojcik produced a higher level of boxing than her opponents in Sofia where she claimed a gold medal as a top favourite.
She trains in the club of KSW Roza Karlino in Poland, and has travelled to Nanjing for another title.
The aggressive style she uses in her bouts and the strength of her punches are reminiscent of US Olympic Champion Claressa Shields.
Cuba’s Javier Ibanez continued his excellent winning series in Sofia where he won the Bantamweight class (56 kg) following his dominance over the top athletes of the category.
Uzbekistan’s Bektemir Melikuziyev is another boxer who needs to be watched in Nanjing.
He defeated his main rival, Ukraine’s Oleksiy Tokarchuk in the quarter-final of the Welterweight class (69 kg) in Sofia, and he was ultimately crowned champion in Bulgaria.
Facts of the Youth Olympic Games
At the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, only 78 boxers can fight for the medals, as 18 women and 60 male athletes have the right to fight in China.
The most successful nations of the qualification events were the top boxing nations of the world including Kazakhstan, Cuba, Russia, Ukraine, Great Britain, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, United States and Bulgaria.
History of the Youth Olympic Games
The first edition of the Youth Olympic Games was held in Singapore in 2010, where the Cuban boxers bagged three gold medals and earned the best performances among the participating nations.
Their Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Champion Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana became the youngest Olympic Champion in London when he won the Flyweight class (52 kg) before his 19th birthday.
The Lithuanian boxers claimed two gold medals in Singapore four years ago, and their strong athlete Evaldas Petrauskas bagged a bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games among the elite athletes as well.
Developing boxing nations such as Colombia, Egypt, Nauru and Turkmenistan achieved also a medal in Singapore.