The Olympic Hopes Junior Tournament was held in the city of Usti nad Labem in the Czech Republic, where boxers born in 1998 and in 1999 were eligible to compete.
This event was necessary preparation prior to the EUBC European Junior Continental Championships which are scheduled to take place in Anapa, Russia in November.
Athlete of the tournament
Hungary’s Istvan Szaka was a quarter-finalist at the 2013 AIBA Junior World Championships in Kiev, where he was one of the youngest competitors of the global event.
He then claimed a silver medal at the Heydar Aliyev Junior Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan in May where he was named as the best boxer of the tournament.
Szaka defeated his main rival, Czech Republic’s 15-year-old Artur Sachbazjan in the quarter-finals, which was one of the best bouts of the tournament.
Following his recent good form, Szaka defeated all of his rivals and won the gold medal in Usti nad Labem.
Szaka, whose boxing idol is Naseem Hamed, has gold medal expectations for the upcoming EUBC European Junior Continental Championships.
Team of the tournament
Among the eight Hungarian finalists, four were able to win the gold medal in the junior tournament in Usti nad Labem.
Besides Istvan Szaka, three of his teammates topped their weight classes in the Czech Republic.
Szilveszter Kanalas defeated Russia’s Igor Malovichko in the final of the Light Flyweight class (48 kg) which was their first gold medal.
Krisztofer Berki put himself into the spotlight when he defeated the best Indian junior boxer in the AIBA Junior World Championships in Kiev one year ago, and he regained his place in the junior national squad.
The Lightweight class (60 kg) boxer, who trains in the club of KSI, bagged Hungary’s next gold medal after beating Czech Republic’s Michal Chludil in the final.
Laszlo Kozak secured their fourth gold medal at the Light Middleweight class (70 kg) where he was too strong for Poland’s Damian Taudul.
Surprise of the tournament
Czech Republic’s defending Junior National Champion 16-year-old Jiri Havel triumphed over a high ranked athlete in the final of the Light Heavyweight class (80 kg), where he found the best fighting distance against Hungary’s Heydar Aliyev Junior Cup bronze medallist and AIBA Junior World Championships competitor Roland Erdelyi.
Ones to watch in the future
Czech Republic’s top junior athlete Michal Bartunek had to meet with Hungary’s Tamas Molnar for the gold, but following their close bout his hand was raised.
Slovakia’s strong David Michalek is another junior athlete who needs to be watched in the future.
The Heavyweight class (+80 kg) boxer stopped Hungary’s Norbert Komor in the second round of their final and claimed a gold for his country.
Stat/fact of the tournament
Host Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Russia and Slovakia all competed in the three-day long competition in Usti nad Labem.
Quote of the tournament
“I felt great in the Olympic Hopes Junior Tournament in Usti nad Labem where I was satisfied with my performance. My first fight against the host nation’s Artur Sachbazjan was the most difficult one but I am happy to win the gold medal in the event. I know I am not in top shape yet, but we are planning to achieve my best with my coach at the upcoming EUBC European Junior Continental Championships where our plan is to win the gold medal,” said Hungary’s Istvan Szaka after his tournament win.
Gold medal winners in the Olympic Hopes Junior Tournament
48 kg: Szilveszter Kanalas, Hungary
52 kg: Istvan Szaka, Hungary
57 kg: Filip Meszaros, Slovakia
60 kg: Krisztofer Berki, Hungary
63 kg: David Kotrc, Czech Republic
66 kg: Michal Bartunek, Czech Republic
70 kg: Laszlo Kozak, Hungary
75 kg: Martin Kubat, Czech Republic
80 kg: Jiri Havel, Czech Republic
+80 kg: David Michalek, Slovakia