The Balkan Women’s Tournament delivered a raft of world-class boxing in the beautiful capital city of Bulgaria, Sofia, where 20 Junior, Youth and Elite champions were crowned during six days of competition.
It was the first time the country had hosted the tournament, welcoming top boxers from across five continents. Four different Confederations returned with new champions.
Among the top European boxing nations involved were England, France, Italy, Ukraine and hosts Bulgaria, while Thailand, Vietnam and Japan also sent teams from Asia. North Africa’s boxing powerhouses Morocco and Algeria were also represented in Sofia.
Bulgaria’s AIBA Women’s World Champion Stanimira Petrova had moved down to the flyweight class in pursuit of a place at Rio 2016, eventually setting up a bout against her namesake, the experienced EUBC European Women’s Champion Stoyka Petrova. Having only taken up the sport three years ago, Stanmira edged a thrilling contest to take the title.
“I’m very happy to win the Balkan Women’s Tournament, where all of the boxers were at the highest level. I felt strong and confident in my new weight class after the four battles I had here, and its great that I could beat Stoyka Petrova, who is more experienced than me,” said Stanimira Petrova after her final.
Italy’s Valeria Calabrese, Canada’s Alison Greey and Australia’s Bianca Elmir also provided some top-quality boxing in the non-Olympic weight classes.
“I wasn’t 100% fit going into this tournament, which was really hard for me,” said Italy’s new light flyweight champion Calabrese. “There were no easy matches in the event and in my final I had to box against Algeria’s Souhila Bouchene. I know that she prefers to be close in, so I worked more on keeping mobile. But my toughest opponent was Japan’s Madoka Wada in the quarter-final.”
In the youth tournament, defending AIBA Women’s Youth World Champion Irma Testa was highly impressive in her lightweight final against England’s Shona Whitwell, while Chinese Taipei’s Huang Hsiao Wen and Japan’s Tsukimi Namiki both put in eye-catching performances to take gold.
Full list of winners at the 2015 Balkan Women’s Tournament in Sofia
Junior 48 kg: Emi-Mari Todorova, Bulgaria
Junior 50 kg: Chiranchaya Phunsang, Thailand
Junior 52 kg: Bunyanut Machai, Thailand
Junior 54 kg: Preedakamon Tintabthai, Thailand
Junior 60 kg: Donjeta Sadiku, Kosovo
Junior 70 kg: Asilkhan Mehmedova, Bulgaria
Youth 48 kg: Nguyen Thi Huyen Phuong, Vietnam
Youth 51 kg: Tsukimi Namiki, Japan
Youth 54 kg: Huang Hsiao Wen, Chinese Taipei
Youth 57 kg: Chutharat Pralathai, Thailand
Youth 60 kg: Irma Testa, Italy
Elite 48 kg: Valeria Calabrese, Italy
Elite 51 kg: Stanimira Petrova, Bulgaria
Elite 54 kg: Diletta Cipollone, Italy
Elite 57 kg: Bianca Elmir, Australia
Elite 60 kg: Svetlana Kamenova Staneva, Bulgaria
Elite 64 kg: Nila Lipska, Ukraine
Elite 69 kg: Elena Vystropova, Azerbaijan
Elite 75 kg: Anna Laurell Nash, Sweden
Elite 81 kg: Alison Greey, Canada