The 12th edition of the Vllaznia Memorial Tournament recently took place in Shkodra, Albania where the Zeneli brothers won their weight classes, while Germany, Italy and Kazakhstan also achieved excellent results.
Athlete of the tournament
Albania’s Rexhildo Zeneli was a bronze medallist in the EUBC European Youth Continental Championships in Rotterdam two years ago, and he also competed in the 2014 AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in Sofia.
The 19-year-old is one of Albania’s most exciting talents, and won his first elite international competition in Shkodra.
Zeneli had to meet in the final with Bulgaria’s Elian Dimitrov, who defeated former AIBA World Champion Detelin Dalakliev in their national event in January, but the Albanian put on the pressure from the opening seconds and his efforts resulted in a valuable gold medal on home soil.
Surprise of the tournament
Krenar Zeneli, the brother of Rexhildo is another exciting Albanian teenage talent, and he defeated Bulgaria’s National Champion Katin Asenov in the final of the Bantamweight class (56 kg) despite his lack of experience in elite events.
Team of the tournament
After The Zeneli brothers won their two gold medals, Albania claimed further silver and bronze medals which saw them top in the team rankings, with 19-year-old Klevis Vrapi (49 kg), Alban Beqiri (69 kg) and Aleksander Ramo (81 kg) their other finalists in Shkodra.
Germany, Italy and Kazakhstan also won two gold medals each in the Albanian event.
One to watch
Despite losing his final to Italy’s Beijing 2008 Olympic Games bronze medallist veteran Vincenzo Picardi, Spain’s talented Gabriel Escobar pushed him all the way in their gold medal bout and is a talent to watch in the future.
Escobar won two contests in the 2014 AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in Sofia, and has begun his elite career with success.
Stat/fact of the tournament
Kazakhstan, Italy, Germany, Bulgaria, Spain, Czech Republic, Montenegro and Kosovo all sent teams to Shkodra which made this current edition the strongest competition in the history of the Vllaznia Memorial Tournament.
List of winners in the Vllaznia Memorial Tournament
- 49 kg: Sergej Neumann, Germany
- 52 kg: Vincenzo Picardi, Italy
- 56 kg: Krenar Zeneli, Albania
- 60 kg: Rexhildo Zeneli, Albania
- 64 kg: Airin Ismetov, Bulgaria
- 69 kg: Sagadat Rakhmankulov, Kazakhstan
- 75 kg: Denis Radovan, Germany
- 81 kg: Simone Fiori, Italy
- 91 kg: Armend Xhoxhaj, Kosovo
- +91 kg: Kamshybek Konkabayev, Kazakhstan