The most important event of 2014, the boxing tournament of the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games began its first competition day in China, with the top youth stars in the world such as Kazakhstan’s Abylaykhan Zhussupov and Poland’s Elzbieta Wojcik starting their tournaments at the Expo Centre Hall D in Nanjing.
Bout of the day
Australia’s top men’s youth athlete, Satali Tevi Fuimaono and Ukraine’s talented Ramil Gadzhyiev both claimed gold medals at the AIBA Junior World Boxing Championships in Kiev one year ago, with both boxers joining the youth level in January and qualifying for the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games in the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in Sofia.
Their Middleweight class (75 kg) battle was one of the most engrossing contests of the opening competition day in Nanjing.
The Aussie boxer opened the first minute with great punches, but the Ukrainian athlete was able to change his tactics and increase the rhythm of the bout.
Fuimaono could not reduce the fighting distance in the second and final round, which meant their bout continued with Gadzhyiev in control, and ultimately winning.
The Ukrainian hope will be fighting for a place in the final bout against Uzbekistan’s strong Kozimbek Mardonov in the semi-final.
Team of the day
Kazakhstan’s AIBA Youth World Champion and AIBA Junior World Champion Abylaykhan Zhussupov has won all of his major international and national events in the recent years, and travelled to Nanjing as the top favourite of Lightweight class (60 kg).
The 17-year-old Kazakh star trains in the city of Karagandy, and had to meet against Romania’s lone qualified boxer Arsen Mustafa in the quarter-final, which was a rematch of the final of the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships.
Zhussupov used strong combinations against his European opponent, and dominated the first and the final round in Nanjing.
His efforts were more than enough to advance to the semi-finals in the Games where he will now meet Hungary’s Richard Konnyu.
Kazakhstan’s second triumph on the opening competition day was delivered by AIBA Youth World Championships silver medallist and ASBC Asian Youth Continental Champion Vadim Kazakov, who eliminated Norway’s only hope in Nanjing, Vegar Tregren in the Light Heavyweight class (81 kg).
The Central Asian boxing power’s third semi-finalist became their defending AIBA Youth World Champion Shalkar Aikynbay, who did not give any chances to Turkey’s Mert Karakilic in their quarter-final bout.
Their Light Flyweight class (49 kg) bout was a clear contest with excellent footwork but in spite of the Turkish boxer’s efforts during the nine minutes he was able to beat Aikynbay in Nanjing.
Surprises of the day
The biggest surprise of the first competition day in Nanjing was delivered by Italy’s Vincenzo Arecchia who shocked Ukraine’s star Viktor Petrov in their quarter-final contest.
Italy’s Light Welterweight class (64 kg) boxer has only had 43 bouts, and in comparison to Petrov having take part in over 200 contests, this figure was very low.
In spite of the Ukrainian stars extra experience, he was not able to get closer to the taller Italian boxer, who kept him at long range, which led to Arecchia winning the contest and causing a shock in the Games.
Dominican Republic’s Juan Ramon Solano boxer had to meet with Croatia’s top athlete, AIBA Youth World Championships silver medallist Luka Prtenjaca in the quarter-finals in Nanjing in the Welterweight class (69 kg).
The Croatian athlete used better combinations in the opening round and took the lead early on.
Solano, who is a southpaw fighter, put his foot on the gas from the start of the second round, and turned back their top level bout, ultimately winning it by unanimous decision.
After this surprise result his next opponent will be Italy’s confident Vincenzo Lizzi.
Ones to watch
Ireland’s Ciara Ginty won the gold medal at the 2013 AIBA Women’s Junior World Championships in Albena and was awarded the Best Woman Junior Boxer of the Year trophy from AIBA, which meant her expectations were high in her Lightweight class (60 kg) match against Italy’s Monica Floridia.
Floridia was coming into the contest having claimed medals not only in April’s event in Sofia, but also in the EUBC European Women’s Youth Continental Championships in Assisi last month.
The Italian started their bout better, but Ginty’s long hands responded to Floridia’s punches much better in the second round.
A topsy-turvy contest finished with a narrow Irish triumph following Ginty’s better performance in the final round.
Poland’s Elzbieta Wojcik is one of the best Middleweight class (75 kg) boxers in the world, and dominated all of her contests in the qualification event in Sofia where she bagged a gold medal as the top favourite of the category.
Wojcik, who trains in the club of KSW Roza Karlino, fought against native talent Davina Michel who lives in the island of Martinique which is part of France.
The younger French boxer could not use her height advantage in Nanjing, and the Polish athlete smashed her defense very quickly.
Wojcik subdued Michel in their quarter-final contest and advanced to the last four in Nanjing.
Quotes of the day
“I am feeling myself great after my first bout with the taller French boxer, Davina Michel in the Youth Olympics. I am extremely happy to win my today’s contest and I am looking forward my next one against Australia’s Caitlin Parker tomorrow. My target in Nanjing of course the gold medal to repeat my previous performance of the AIBA Women’s Youth World Championships,” said Poland’s Elzbieta Wojcik who was at a different level than her opponent in the Middleweight class (75 kg).
“I felt good and I went out there feeling confident and calm as I have fought her twice before today’s bout. It was a good warm up for tomorrow’s fight against Poland’s Elzbieta Wojcik. My winning tactics were to keep at mid to long range and get her with my straight punches. My US opponent, Martha is a tough girl and I think she will take out the fifth spot in her match against France’s Davina Michel. In connection of my semi-final battle I know what I have to do to win the rematch tomorrow,” said Australia’s AIBA Youth World Championships silver medallist Caitlin Parker following her triumph over US Martha Fabela.
The semi-finals are to be scheduled on the second competition day in the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games, which means that twenty-six exciting battles will be in the program tomorrow.