The Vllaznia Tournament is the biggest international boxing event in Albania, and was held in the port of Shkoder.
The Albanian boxing team claimed medals in the last edition of the EUBC European Youth Continental Championships, and at the EUBC European Junior Continental Championships as well, which shows that the team is a new force in European boxing.
Croatia’s Mr. Marko Marovic was the Supervisor of the Vllaznia Tournament, as he passed his exams successfully last month.
Athlete of the tournament
The biggest name of the event was Kazakhstan’s defending AIBA World Champion and two-times Olympian Birzhan Zhakipov, who competed for the very first time in the Vllaznia Memorial Tournament in Albania.
In the final of the competition he had to meet with his teammate, National Championships bronze medallist Erlan Tamemov.
Zhakipov is now fighting at the Flyweight class (52 kg), and had a tough fight against Tamemov who has been competing in this weight category since 2012.
The AIBA World Champion boxer Zhakipov never dominated the bout, but did enough to claim the win against his compatriot.
Team of the tournament
The Albanian team bagged two golds and four silver medals in the event, despite missing some of their best boxers in Shkoder.
Their first gold medal was achieved by the experienced Kristian Shytani at the Light Welterweight class (64kg), who outpointed Arnold Kuqari in the gold medal bout.
Albania’s second gold was delivered by Xhulio Vrenozi, who had a great youth career with a lot of medals in that age group. The 22-year-old Welterweight class (69 kg) boxer defeated his teammate, former European Cadet Championships bronze medallist Albi Sorra in the fifth bout of the last competition day.
Surprise of the tournament
Montenegro’s Alen Beganovic has competed in three editions of AIBA World Boxing Championships, and following a long break he returned to the sport in the Mediterranean Games in Mersin.
Beganovic, who turned 30 during the Vllaznia Memorial Tournament, celebrated his birthday with a great triumph over Italy’s National Champion Tommaso Rossano.
Montenegro’s Super Heavyweight class (+91 kg) star stopped his strong opponent in the opening round when he knocked down Rossano.
Ones to watch in the future
New Zealand’s talented 19-year-old David Nyika competed in the 2011 AIBA Junior World Championships in Astana, and in the 2012 AIBA Youth World Championships in Yerevan, but joined the elite level only this year.
The Light Heavyweight class (81 kg) boxer stopped Italy’s Strandja Memorial Tournament silver medallist Valentino Manfredonia in the final of the tournament, giving himself a realistic chance to be involved in New Zealand’s Commonwealth Games squad.
Kazakhstan’s Tammer Tournament winner Aleksey Sevostyanov has now turned 23, and his experience helped him gain a further title.
He had a close final against Montenegro’s top athlete Marko Radonjic, who moved back to the Heavyweight class (91 kg) after some events where he tried to compete in the highest category.
Both of these boxers show a lot of potential, and need to be watched in upcoming events.
Stat/fact of the tournament
The Albanian boxers are trying to join the top nations of European boxing, and their chances of doing so are better than ever after their two gold medals.
Oceania’s number two boxing nation, New Zealand competed for the very first time in the history of the Vllaznia Memorial Tournament.
Quote of the tournament
“A great success of our Vllaznia Tournament was that Kazakhstan’s defending AIBA World Champion Birzhan Zhakipov and his coach decided to take part in Shkoder. He had a wonderful bout and I am sure all of our young hopes watched his technique in the ring,” said Mr. Mirgen Pero, the Technical Director of the Albanian Boxing Federation.