The first AIBA event of 2014, the Youth World Championships opened today in Sofia, Bulgaria with the winners of the bouts at Light Flyweight class (46-49kg) and Flyweight (52kg) advanced to the second round of the preliminaries.
Bout of the day
France’s Anthony Gimenez began his boxing career in 2007, stepping up to international level last year when he competed in various youth events. The 17-year-old French Light Flyweight came to Sofia following an unexpected loss in the Brandenburg Youth Cup in February, where he claimed a bronze medal.
Since then, Gimenez raised his training in an attempt to perform better in the AIBA Youth World Championships. The French boxer met Botswana’s best youth competitor, AFBC African Youth Continental Championships silver medallist Mohammed Otukile on Day 1.
The African athlete, who trains in a boxing school led by Beijing 2008 Olympic Games quarter-finalist Khumiso Ikgopoleng, stepped up his tactics after the first round, which led to one of the best fights of the day produced by the two exciting youngsters.
Team of the day
Two Mongolian boxers had the honour of fighting on this opening day, and both secured their places in the last 32. Battamir Ganbold competed in the last edition of the AIBA Junior World Championships, and his experience showed as he shocked South Korea’s medal contender Han Younghun in the opening round.
The Korean boxer was silver medallist at the ASBC Asian Youth Continental Championships in Bangkok in January, but could not solve Ganbold’s tactics in Sofia.
Ganbold’s compatriot, the Youth National Champion Tumurkhuyag Bat-Ochir also defeated his first opponent today. The 17-year-old Mongolian athlete controlled his bout against South Africa’s Edwin Tshabalala, who moved down to the Light Flyweight category just before the competition.
Despite Tshabalala’s best efforts, he lost the bout by unanimous decision, giving Mongolia their second triumph in the tournament.
AIBA Road to Sofia boxer of the day
Abednego Kyalo won the Kenyan Youth National Trials earlier this year, and he was invited to the AIBA Road to Sofia training camp before the Championships. The Kenyan only turned 17 in January, but his extra skills saw him beat Bhutan’s Children of Asia Games bronze medallist Tashi Wangdi.
After a quiet first round for the Kenyan, Kyalo was able to present better attacks from the second, and become the first AIBA Road to Sofia athlete to win.
Another program member in Tajikistan’s AIBA Junior World Championships quarter-finalist Umed Yakubov was not so lucky with his draw, and he was defeated by Russia’s current Youth National Champion Pavel Fedorov in the first session of the day.
Surprises of the day
Turkey’s Mert Karaklic won the Danas Pozniakas Youth Memorial Tournament in Lithuania last month, but he had a tough draw against Thailand’s current ASBC Asian Youth Continental Champion Thani Narinram.
The Turkish Light Flyweight surprisingly won every round 10:9, which saw him drawn in the next stage of the AIBA Youth World Championships, where he will meet Germany’s Denis Weber.
Another Turkish boxer, Omer Koc was the favourite against Algeria’s Jugurtha Ait Bekka and he opened the first round with excellent jabs. His Algerian opponent rallied well however, and won the rest of the fight decisively.
Ones to watch
Azerbaijan’s EUBC European Youth Continental Championships silver medallist Masud Yusifzada is one of the favourites at Flyweight . His rhythm and tactical skills are some of the best in his weight category, and he needed to use all of his knowledge against Japan’s southpaw Kantaro Juri.
The 18-year-old Azeri boxer operated with quick combinations, and his counter-attacks reached the target in the second round, ensuring his hand was raised after the bout.
Muhammad Ali is one of the most iconic names in boxing, with England’s new youth hope sharing the same name as the US boxing legend. Ali performed well in the first preliminary round in Sofia.
The 18-year-old English Flyweight turned around his bout against Venezuela’s South American Youth Games winner Franklin Gonzalez, in a contest that provided high quality boxing.
The Bantamweight (56kg) and the Lightweight (60kg) categories will be in action and among the men boxers will be Kazakhstan’s AIBA Junior World Champion star Abylaykhan Zhussupov.
The youth women also open their Championships at Flyweight (48-51kg). With 36 athletes in the field, eight of them must step into the ring in the second competition day in order to reach the last 32 of the competition.