Two-time Bocskai Memorial Tournament winner 24-year-old Nikita Ivanov leads the Russian squad at the upcoming European Championships, which starting in Ankara, Turkey on June 16.
Ivanov has secured gold medals at several international tournaments but is only the No. 2 at light heavyweight in Russia behind reigning AIBA World Champion superstar Yegor Mekhontsev. He will be competing in his first European Championships and his target is the top of the podium.
Russian head coach Nikolay Khromov has decided not to send the top boxers to the European Men's Elite Championships to save them for the AIBA World Championships, which will be the first major qualification event for the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games.
Nevertheless the squad includes excellent fighters who have gold medal expectations in the Turkish capital city. The average age of the team is 25.1 years, meaning that experience won't be causing any problems during the competition.
Russia's light flyweight No.2 Belik Galanov claimed the gold medal at the National Championships last year when David Ayrapetyan missed the event. Galanov's best international result so far is a silver medal at the Turkish Prime Ministry Tournament.
Three-time European Champion Georgiy Balakshin secured a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games but in the new Olympic era he has been replaced by Misha Aloyan in the flyweight class. Balakshin took a silver medal at the Zlatko Hrbic Memorial Tournament and also reached the same result at the Russian National Championships in April.
Russia's bantamweight boxer in Ankara will be former European Junior Champion 22-year-old Dmitriy Polyanskiy who won last year's National Championships.
Former Russian National Champion 26-year-old Ildar Vaganov has been selected for the lightweight class, while Maksim Ignatyev will represent Russia in the light welterweight class.
Newcomer 25-year-old Islam Edisultanov secured his ticket to the European Championships with his silver medal at the Russian National Championships in April and will compete in his first major international event.
Former European Junior Champion middleweight Maksim Koptyakov was also crowned at the Russian National Championships and selected for the Ankara squad, while heavyweight newcomer Abdulkhamid Nurmagomedov won the gold medal at the Grand Prix in Usti nad Labem where he was awarded the chance to compete in Ankara after three narrow victories.
Niyaz Fayzullin will represent Russia for the very first time in his career after several tournament victories. The super heavyweight boxer has more than enough skill to take a medal in Ankara and will be tough competition for Italy's top favorite Roberto Cammarelle.
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