Lithuania’s international elite boxing competition, the Algirdas Socikas Tournament was held in the Kaunas Sport Hall over the weekend. The tournament named after legendary Lithuanian boxer Algirdas Socikas – winner of the European Continental Championships in 1953 and in 1955 – who passed away in 2012 at the age of 84.
Young hopes of the Baltic country, such as EUBC European Olympic Championships silver medallist Edgaras Skurdelis, London 2012 Olympics bronze medallist Evaldas Petrauskas and multiple international tournament winner Eimantas Stanionis all won the tournament on home soil.
Athlete of the tournament
Lithuania’s Eimantas Stanionis had a successful youth career with a few tournament victories and a top 8 place at the 2012 AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in Yerevan, Armenia. He already fought in more than 120 contests during his career even though he is only aged 19. The Welterweight (69 kg) boxer notably won the Gee Bee Tournament in Finland last year and defeated some star athletes of his category in 2013. He won all of his three contests in Kaunas, overcoming Denmark’s Mikkel Nielsen, Latvia’s Genadijs Merkulovs and England’s Scott Fitzgerald, thus claiming his third gold medal at the Algirdas Socikas Tournament.
Team of the tournament
Lithuania claimed four gold medals on home soil and became the most successful nation of the Algirdas Socikas Tournament. Edgaras Skurdelis defeated his compatriot Ruslanas Jefremovas in the final of the Lightweight class (60 kg) while London 2012 Olympics bronze medallist Evaldas Petrauskas, teenage star Eimantas Petrauskas and veteran Vitalijus Subacius added to the hosts’ gold medal series. Subacius, who has been a member of the national squad since 2000, is already 35 but thanks to the new AIBA rules he is still able to continue his amateur boxing career.
Surprises of the tournament
Latvia’s new National Champion Vladislavs Jaskuls won three contests and the gold medal in Kaunas causing a surprise in the tournament. The Middleweight (75 kg) boxer defeated Lithuania’s Paulius Petronis, Germany’s Josef Attanjaoui and another young athlete from the host nation squad Tomas Sinkevicius in the final. Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov also unexpectedly triumphed in Kaunas by defeating his teammate, EUBC European Youth Continental Champion 21-year-old Gasan Gimbatov, by unanimous decision.
One to watch in the future
Estonia’s WSB boxer and multiple National Champion Kaupo Arro defeated Germany’s former AIBA Youth World Championships bronze medallist Sadulai Abdulai and Lithuania’s Vitalijus Volkov to claim gold . His aggressive style and multiple body shots proved enough to beat taller opponents in the Algirdas Socikas Tournament. The 25-year-old Estonian boxer moved up to the Light Heavyweight class (81 kg) only recently and results prove that he has swiftly acclimatised to his new weight category.
Stat/fact of the tournament
Several elite international tournaments were held simultaneously to the Algirdas Socikas tournament but there were nevertheless nine nations represented at the event, making this 18th edition a very competitive one.
Quote of the tournament
“I am delighted to win the Algirdas Socikas Tournament once again, especially because I was ill during the tournament, but nevertheless managed to grab a third consecutive gold medal. I did not have any tactics in mind when starting my final fight. I just entered the ring on fire and found the key to beat my opponent. My biggest target is the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and I know I am on the right track to qualify,” said Lithuania’s Eimantas Stanionis after his third success in the history of the Algirdas Socikas Tournament.