Top favourites defending champion Balazs Bacskai of Hungary and silver medalist of the last edition Khalid Saeed Yafai of England were both eliminated from the 39th European Men's Elite Championships in Ankara on Sunday.
Hungary's Balazs Bacskai had only one loss since September 2009 and was unbeaten this year, making his early exit one of the biggest surprises at the tournament so far. After beating England's Scott Cardle on his debut on Friday he had to face France's Adriani Vastine, the elder brother of Olympic Games bronze medalist Alexis.
On the opening round of the contest the scores were equal on both sides but Vastine took a short lead after the second three minutes. The French boxer not only saved his advantage but increased it to celebrate an unexpected victory. He will face Turkey's Abdulkadir Koroglu in the welterweight quarter-final.
England's flag bearer Khalid Saeed Yafai had a really hard opponent on his debut, which led to his elimination at the European Championships. Competing in his first major international tournament, talented Michael Conlon from Belfast, Ireland's newly crowned National Champion, had an excellent final round against the English star in Ankara and advanced to the flyweight quarter-final after beating Yafai by 19:10
Conlon's next fight will be against Italy's Olympic Games bronze medalist 28-year-old Vincenzo Picardi and a victory would guarantee him at least a bronze medal.
In the lightweight class Italy's reigning AIBA World Champion Domenico Valentino made a successful start and triumphed over Lithuania's Aurimas Naudzius and will face Scotland's Commonwealth Games silver medalist Josh Taylor to battle for a place in the top 8.
Maksim Koptyakov continued Russia's excellent series in Ankara. The 24-year-old former European Junior Champion middleweight fighter defeated Italy's Luca Podda by 17:4 and will be fighting against France's WSB Team Champion Michel Tavares. Also in the middleweight division, the Netherlands' Peter Mullenberg had an impressive 25:2 victory over Danijel Topalovic of Bosnia & Herzegovina.
In the flyweight division top favourites such as three-time European Champion Georgiy Balaksin of Russia, Andrew Selby of Wales and former European Champion Georgiy Chygayev of Ukraine advanced to the quarter-final in Ankara.
After Balazs Bacskai's unexpected loss, the route to the gold appears open for Russia's Islam Edisultanov and former European Champion Magomed Nurudinov of Belarus. The Russian newcomer stopped Azerbaijan's Osman Aliyev before the final gong when the ringside doctor stopped the fight due Aliyev's injury.
Bulgaria's European Championships silver medalist 28-year-old Tervel Pulev demonstrated his power against Albania's Vllaznia Memorial Tournament winner Christian Demaj in the heavyweight class and advanced to the quarter-final where he will have to fight his main rival, former European Champion Denis Poyatsika of Ukraine. Belarus's European Championships silver medalist Sergey Korneyev dominated his fight against former kickboxer Michal Olas and also advanced to the heavyweight quarter-final.
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