Tunisia's big gun and team captain African Cup of Nations winner 21-year-old Yahya Mkacheri won the light heavyweight class at the African Zone 1 Championships, which were held in Beni Mellal, Morocco from April 12-16.
Yahya Mkacheri paid attention when he was only 18 and claimed a bronze medal in an international tournament in Latvia three years ago. Following that result he secured a bronze medal at the Mediterranean Games in Pescara in 2009 and took a valuable silver medal at the 2010 Makar Mazay Memorial Tournament in Ukraine, where he was beaten to the gold by AIBA World Championships silver medalist Elshod Rasulov of Uzbekistan by a close 1:0.
At the African Zone 1 Championships he defeated 22-year-old local hero Amine Azzouzi of Morocco and claimed a gold medal for Tunisia. Mkacheri's skill is still developing stage and if he continues in the same vein he has a chance to take the gold at the upcoming All African Games, which will be held in Mozambique in September.
In the first final contest Bocskai Memorial Tournament bronze medalist young Abdelali Daraa took Morocco's first gold medal after beating Algeria's 18-year-old Fahem Hammachi in the light flyweight class in Beni Mellal.
In the flyweight class Algeria's 21-year-old Samir Brahimi claimed the gold after beating Tunisia's strong Mehdi Hajri by 10:5 in the semi-final and Abdelfattah Nafil of Morocco in the final.
Algeria's bantamweight No.1 Mohamed Amine Oudahi continued his nation's gold medal series after beating Morocco's veteran Hicham Mesbahi. One of the best host boxers, Mehdi Ouatine, who became AIBA Junior World Champion in 2006, secured the second Moroccan gold in Beni Mellal by stopping Saifeddine Mezlini of Tunisia.
AIBA Junior World Championships bronze medalist Driss Moussaid of Morocco first defeated Sid Barag Ali of Algeria by a close 5:4 in the semi-final and then triumphed over Tunisia's newcomer Abdrazek Hawi in the light welterweight final.
Algeria's Arabic Championships silver medalist 19-year-old Ilyas Abbadi defeated Tunisia's Omar Bahri in the welterweight final, while Morocco's Beijing Olympian Mahdi Khalsi secured only the bronze medal.
At middleweight Makar Mazay Tournament silver medalist and rising power Hassan Chagtemi of Tunisia eliminated reigning Arabic Champion Abdelmalek Rahou of Algeria by 10:5 in the semi-final and followed that victory with a win against Youness Gharroumi of Morocco for the gold medal.
In the super heavyweight division powerful Aymen Trabelsi of Tunisia triumphed over Algeria's veteran Kamel Rahmani in the final, while Arabic Championships silver medalist Alae Sakri of Morocco took only the bronze medal.
The tournament was an excellent preparation for the Northern African boxers just before the African Championships, which will be held in Cameroon from June 5.
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