It was a red-letter day for Germany with all three of its boxers advancing as 12 boxers guaranteed themselves a medal at the 2008 European Elite Championships in Liverpool, England after winning their quarterfinal bouts at the Greenbank Sports Academy on Tuesday.
Light Heavyweight Rene Krause started the ball rolling for Germany with a 5:1 win over 2007 World Championships bronze medallist and 2008 Olympian Daugirdas Semiotas of Lithuania in the 81kg quarterfinals, followed soon after in the evening session by a last-second 5:4 win for Bantamweight Denis Makarov in his 54kg quarterfinal against Irish two-times national champ Ryan Lindberg, which guaranteed Germany an improved position on its 2006 European Championships performance when it took home only one bronze medallist. Jack Culcay-Keth rounded off a great day for Germany with a 6:3 win over Russia's Alekander Rakislov in their 69kg quarterfinal.
Pic: German head coach Angrick Adolf with Rene Krause
"We are pleased with these performances but fully aware that there is a long way to go until London 2012," German head coach Angrick Adolf said. "Like most of the countries here in Liverpool, we are preparing for the next cycle of the Olympic Games so we have a long way to go but we are pleased with these results."
Makarov typified the German performance at these Championships with a gritty performance, leading 4-3 before Lindberg tied the bout at 4:4 with 40 seconds remaining. A scoring punch with five seconds on the clock sealed a sensational victory for the 2007 European Union silver medallist.
"Denis boxed very well," Adolf said. "His stance was excellent and his guard was very strong. That was the key. He would defend a lot and then attack at the right moments. Ireland is traditionally strong and on this occasion Lindberg was no different."
Makarov will now face England's Luke Campbell is the semifinals after the two-times national champion used his better reach to beat 2001 Junior European champion Eduard Abzalimov of Russia 3:2.
It was a tough day for both Russia and England with the hosts suffering three defeats out of four while Russia, a winner of an incredible nine gold medals at the last European Championships in Bulgaria in 2006, managed two wins from five bouts.
Pic: Armenia's Hovhanncs Danielyan (blue) on his way to victory over Darran Langley from England
Earlier in the day, Armenia's 2008 Olympian and 2007 World Championships quarterfinalist Hovhanncs Danielyan set the tone for a disappointing day for the hosts when he beat England's 48kg national champion Darran Langley 7:3 in the first bout of the day.
He will now meet Istvan Ungvari in Thursday's semifinals after the Hungarian beat Anton Bekish from Belarus 8:2. It is on the other side of the 48kg draw where things became very interesting after Spain's Cuban-born Jose de la Nieve Linares beat Poland's Lukasz Maszczyk 7:3 in the contest between the two Beijing Olympians.
Meanwhile, Turkey's Eerhat Pehlivan handed what could possibly be a disappointing end to the illustrious career of Russia's Sergey Kazakov with a 2:1 victory in the fourth 48kg quarterfinal. At 32 year's of age, the 2008 European Elite Championships was seen as a chance for Kazakov to add to his three European Championship and 2003 World Championship titles and a 2005 World Championship silver medal.
Quarterfinal action continues tomorrow and if the first day of quarterfinals is anything to go by, we can expect more riveting action inside the ropes over the course of Wednesday.
Pic: Turkey fans were in full voice on Tuesday