Forty quarter-final bouts were held in two sessions at the 39th European Men's Elite Championships in Ankara on Tuesday, with the winners guaranteed a medal. The Italian boxers were excellent during the day, with the country's boxers securing four medals.
In the light flyweight class Turkey's favourite Ferhat Pehlivan and Russia's 22-year-old Belik Galanov may well be the best boxers in the event but they had to fight each other in the quarter-final and it was the Russian who won the contest and advanced to the semi-final, where two teenagers, England's Charlie Edwards and Azerbaijan's AIBA Youth World Champion Salman Alizada will also be competing.
Italy's first great victory was notched up by Olympic Games bronze medalist Vincenzo Picardi, who eliminated Ireland's new surprise Michael Conlon in their hectic quarter-final battle. In addition to Picardi, three-times European Champion Georgiy Balakshin of Russia, Alexandru Riscan of Moldova and two-time European Championships bronze medalist Andrew Selby of Wales advanced to the semi-finals.
England's former European Champion Luke Campbell was the main favorite of the bantamweight division but surprisingly he was defeated by Turkey's Beijing Olympian Furkan Memis Ulas. In the same weight class Russia's strong National Champion Dmitriy Polyanskiy and Ireland's AIBA World Championships bronze medalist John Joe Nevin put on one of the best fights of the day but unfortunately only the winner could advance to the semi-final. Polyanskiy was the lucky one and won the contest by a close 13:12.
In the lightweight division Armenia's former AIBA Cadet World Champion 22-year-old Vladimir Saruhanyan, who fought for Russia until 2009, beat England's Martin Ward by 22:15 and advanced to the semi-final, where he can expect strong opponents because defending AIBA World Champion Domenico Valentino from Italy, Turkey's Fatih Keles and Ukraine's Volodimir Matviychuk are all still in the competition.
Hungary's Gyula Kate has won at least a bronze medal at every European Championships since 2004 but this year was unexpectedly eliminated by Italy's Vincenzo Mangiacapre in the light welterweight class. Ireland's former AIBA Youth World Champion Ray Moylette had a close but victorious contest against Russia's Maksim Ignatyev, while Azerbaijan's Haybatulla Hajialiyev and top favorite Thomas Stalker from England also joined Mangiacapre and Moylette.
Welshman, Strandja Memorial Tournament winner and Commonwealth Champion Fred Evans eliminated Russia's favorite Islam Edisultanov by 16:14 and secured at least a bronze medal in Ankara. In addition to Evans, former European Champion Magomed Nurudinov of Belarus, French surprise Adriani Vastine and Georgia's Zaal Kvachatadze are still in the welterweight competition.
Ukraine's 22-year-old Dmitro Mitrofanov shocked the Irish ringside when he defeated their team captain and European Championships silver medalist Darren O'Neill in the middleweight quarter-final. Turkey's AIBA World Championships bronze medalist Adem Kilicci was too strong for Azerbaijan's Rahib Baylarov in the same weight division, while Russia's Maksim Koptyakov and Georgia's Jaba Khositashvili also advanced to the semi-final.
Croatia's WSB boxer Hrvoje Sep caused a big surprise when he eliminated France's AIBA World Championships bronze medalist Abdelkader Bouhenia by 21:15 in the light welterweight division. AIBA Youth World Champion Joe Ward of Ireland, Russian National Champion Nikita Ivanov and Hungary's EU Champion Imre Szello are also still in the competition in this division.
In Artur Beterbiyev's, Clemente Russo's and Oleksandr Usyk's absence Bulgaria's Tervel Pulev is the main favorite at heavyweight. Veteran Pulev had a hectic contest against Ukraine's former European Champion Denis Poyatsika, which finished with one point difference in favor of the Bulgarian fighter. Turkey's Bahram Muzaffer defeated Slovakia's Sandro Dirnfeld while Germany's only medalist, newcomer Johann Witt, triumphed over Belarus' Sergey Korneyev and will be fighting against Azerbaijan's 18-year-old Teymur Mammadov for a place in the final.
Italy's fourth guaranteed medal was secured by Olympic Games winner Roberto Cammarelle who defeated Hungary's former wrestler Istvan Bernath by a large margin of points in the super heavyweight class, where Georgia's Mihail Bakhtidze, Russia's Magomed Omarov and Romania's World Combat Games silver medalist Mihai Nistor also guaranteed themselves a medal.
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