Most of the powerful Turkish junior boxers are medal contenders at the upcoming historic 1st AIBA Women’s Youth and Junior World Championships in Antalya.
Kocaeli-based Ulku Demir, who will be competing at the 50kg weight class, Merve Ozgen Arslan, strong Reyhan Cakir and middleweight Serife Karakoc already have international experience and have good chances of earning medals in front of the home crowd in Antalya.
In the junior tournament, women boxers born in 1995 and 1996 are eligible to compete in thirteen weight classes from 46 up to over 80kg under official AIBA rules.
Altogether 264 boxers from 45 nations will compete at the event, of which 113 athletes from 28 countries have entered from each AIBA confederation for the Junior World Championships.
Next to the host team only Russia and Kazakhstan will be competing with full 13-member teams at the AIBA Women’s Junior World Championships, while Ukraine will send eleven, India eight and Ireland seven athletes to the competition.
Surprisingly great boxing nations China and England will be fighting for medals only in the youth tournament and won’t be sending any athletes to the junior event. As in the Youth World Championships, the United States, Canada, Mongolia, South Korea, Italy, Norway and Argentina will miss the championships.
The Russian squad contains a high number of gold medal contenders such as still unbeaten light flyweight boxer Marina Melkova from the Yaroslavl region, the youngest team member Katalina Rotar from Raduzhniy, Junior National Champion Elvira Voronkova, Viktoriya Lobacheva, lightweight Oksana Paltseva and reigning European Junior Champion Dagestan-based Saida Gamidova.
Ukraine’s junior squad is also strong, led by experienced Viktoriya Virt who has only one loss in her whole career, reigning European Junior Champion unbeaten Marina Malovanova and super heavyweight great hope 15-year-old two-time National Junior Champion Irina Vinnik.
India’s boxing life has developed over the past decade and the country now has a high number of women athletes in each age group. Unbeaten light flyweight Lalenkawli and Punjab’s talented Neeraj Bala, who was awarded the best boxer trophy at the Indian Junior National Championships, are great prospects for the South Asian country and their coaches expect a gold from both boxers in Antalya.
Ireland has one of the world’s best women boxers in Katie Taylor, who provides a great role model for the country’s young boxers. European Junior Championships silver medalist Christine Gargan, who will be fighting at 48kg, European Junior Championships bronze medalist Nicole Meli and Shannon Power (who has already 30 bouts under her belt) are all capable of excellent results in Antalya.
Poland anticipates gold medals at junior level, where the experienced Paulina Jakubczyk and defending European Junior Champion Hanna Solecka (who will be celebrating her 16th birthday during the event) have got enough skills to be crowned in Antalya.
Sweden will be represented with only two junior boxers but both are well-qualified: Hamburg Girls Cup winner lightweight Agnes Alexiusson of Vaernamo BK and European Junior Championships bronze medalist Ida Lundblad at 63kg.