The European Boxing Confederation’s first continental event, the EUBC European Women’s Continental Championships will be starting in Bucharest, Romania this weekend.

This competition is especially important as it takes place in the same year as the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships which is scheduled to take place in Jeju, Korea in November.

The most anticipated battle of the continental championships is expected to take place between Ireland’s national legend Katie Taylor, and Russia’s two-time AIBA World Champion Sofya Ochigava.

Fast Facts:
What: EUBC European Women’s Continental Championships
Where: Bucharest, Romania
When: 30 May – 8 June 2014

The Tension and the Drama:
Ireland’s four-time AIBA World Champion, and London 2012 Olympic Champion Katie Taylor, and Russia’s two-time AIBA World Champion Sofya Ochigava are perhaps the two top female athletes in the whole boxing world, and both fight in the same weight class.

They have met four times in the last Olympic era, and Ireland’s Taylor has won three of the contests, including the two most important bouts in Qinhuangdao and in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Russian boxer Ochigava has returned to the world of boxing, and the whole world is eagerly awaiting to see if she can find the winning tactics against Taylor in the upcoming ninth edition of the EUBC European Women’s Continental Championships.

Ones to watch
England’s London 2012 Olympic Champion Nicola Adams claimed the gold medal at the EU Women’s Championships last year, and continued her winning path at the Feliks Stamm Memorial Tournament in Warsaw last month.

The Leeds born boxer has been unbeaten since May 2012.

Now 31, the English Flyweight class (51 kg) star had a close contest against Russia’s defending National Champion Sayana Sagatayeva in the final of the Feliks Stamm Memorial Tournament, and she will be eager to dominate the competition again ahead of her anticipated rematch with the Russian boxer in Bucharest.

England’s AIBA World Champion Savannah Marshall failed to medal in the London 2012 Olympic Games, but she has raised her game immeasurably over the last couple of years, and aims for gold in Bucharest.

Marshall turned 23 last week, and no doubt wants to celebrate with another tournament title in the EUBC European Women’s Continental Championships.

Her biggest rivals will be Russia’s AIBA Youth World Champion Iaroslava Iakushina, and Netherlands’ Nouchka Fontijn who was a silver medallist in the last edition of this continental event.

Returning boxer of the championships
Sweden’s AIBA Women’s World Champion veteran boxer Anna Laurell has returned to the world of boxing after the London 2012 Olympic Games, where she competed at the Middleweight class (75 kg).

The 34-year-old Laurell has decided not give up her Rio 2016 Olympic Games dream, and after the International Boxing Association (AIBA) raised the age limit of the female fighters, she has now got the chance to realise her target.

Laurell started her boxing career still back in 1997, and competed in all of the main international events since 1999.

Her career highlight was undoubtedly the gold medal from the historical first edition of the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Scranton in 2001 where the first ever female worldwide event was held with great success.

Fact of the tournament
Altogether 172 boxers from 31 nations have registered to take part in the EUBC European Women’s Continental Championships in Bucharest, with boxers born between 1974 and 1995 eligible to compete in the event.

The top nations of the European continent such as Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Romania and Hungary will all be present, with a maximum of ten boxers each.

Azerbaijan, England, France, Germany, Italy and Poland have also sent strong delegations.

Developing women boxing nations including Armenia, Croatia, Israel, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland will have top hopes in Bucharest.

The Lightweight class (60 kg) is the most popular category where 24 female boxers will be fighting for the medals, including Ireland’s Katie Taylor, Russia’s Sofya Ochigava, Poland’s former AIBA World Champion, France’s EU Champion Estelle Mossely and England’s rising star Chantelle Cameron.

History of the event
The first European Women’s Boxing Cup was held in Koping, Sweden in 1999, while the first official edition was hosted in St. Amand-les-Eaux, France in 2001 where 78 boxers competed.

After that, women’s boxing has turned into one of the fastest growing sports in the world, especially since top female boxers could compete in the Olympic Games as well.

This coveted continental championship has also taken place in Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Denmark, Ukraine and in the Netherlands.

In the last, and eighth edition of the EUBC European Women’s Continental Championships which was held in Rotterdam, the Russians won four gold medals while Ireland’s Katie Taylor also bagged a gold in the Dutch city.

Four of the titleholders will have the chance to defend their medals in Bucharest.