The Russian boxing team made an excellent start at the 39th European Men's Elite Championships in the Turkish capital city of Ankara, where 252 boxers from 39 nations are competing for the medals.
Russia's former National Champion Belik Galanov is only the nation's second best athlete behind David Ayrapetyan in the light flyweight class but the 22-year-old boxer dominated his opening contest against Poland's Beijing Olympian Lukasz Maszczyk. Galanov won the bout by 19:9 and advanced to the quarter-final where he can expect a hard battle against Turkey's top favorite Ferhat Pehlivan.
Three-time European Champion 31-year-old Georgiy Balakshin of Russia had enough experience to beat his twelve years younger opponent Ivan Figurenko of Belarus in the flyweight division. Veteran Georgiy Balakshin will also face a top Turkish boxer, 20-year-old Selcuk Eker, who eliminated Azerbaijan's European Championships silver medalist Elvin Mamishzade.
Former Russian National Champion 22-year-old Dmitriy Polyanskiy took the first step towards realizing his golden dreams in Ankara. Bantamweight Polyanskiy triumphed over France's 21-year-old Oualid Belaoura by 20:10 and will face Armenia's 19-year-old Hovhannes Bachkov in the next round. His biggest rival, England's former European Champion Luke Campbell, also did a great job on his opening bout and won the contest against Latvia's Korotkov Memorial Tournament winner Dmitrijs Gutmans by 20:6.
Among the Russian boxers former National Champion Ildar Vaganov had the toughest route to glory in the preliminary stage of the championships. His opponent, Hungary's European Championships bronze medalist Miklos Varga, was also a medal contender at the event but Vaganov opened well with a victory in the lightweight division and will meet England's European Youth Champion Martin Ward in the next round.
Russia's former European Junior Champion Maksim Ignatyev has not enjoyed many victories at international level in the recent past but his confidence may have returned in Ankara where, he eliminated Bulgaria's Angel Hristov and will be fighting against Romania's Daniel Badulescu in the light welterweight class. Lithuania's Youth Olympic Games winner Ricardas Kuncaitis had medal dreams in Ankara but was defeated by Dzemal Fetahovic of Bosnia & Herzegovina in the same weight division.
Russia's Chechnya-based welterweight boxer Islam Edisultanov also made a successful debut in Ankara after beating Asmer Bilali of Albania. Edisultanov's next opponent will be Osman Aliyev, who replaced Sadig Eynullayev on the Azeri team at the last minute.
Heavyweight newcomer Abdulkhamid Nurmagomedov of Russia had a close and hectic battle against England's Daniel Price in the first preliminary round. The final verdict was 19:14 to the 24-year-old Russian boxer and he will be fighting against Ireland's Con Sheehan, who eliminated Levan Guledani before the final gong when the ringside doctor finished the contest due to the Georgian boxer's injury.
In the super heavyweight class Italy's Olympic Champion and two-time AIBA World Champion Roberto Cammarelle had to fight against Europe's No.2 Viktor Zuyev of Belarus in the opening round. The Italian veteran showed all of his excellent skills and the referee stopped the bout against his experienced rival in the second round of the contest after his serious head punches.
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