The 39th European Men's Elite Championships finished in Ankara this afternoon with the continent's new wave of boxers crowned on the final day of the event and none of the defending champions managing to defend their titles. Among the winners are two 17-year-olds who are the youngest gold medalists in the history of the European Championships.
The first final fight was held in the light flyweight class, where Azerbaijan's AIBA Youth World Champion 17-year-old Salman Alizada led by 6:4 after the first three minutes against former National Champion Belik Galanov. The 22-year-old Russian equalized the close fight by the end of the second round, making the last round a real battle between the two minimen. In the end it was teenager Salman Alizada who celebrated his first major victory at elite level.
Two-time European Championship bronze medalist 23-year-old Andrew Selby and three-time European Champion veteran Georgiy Balakshin also had a spectacular fight in the flyweight class in Ankara. Selby won a historic gold medal for Wales after beating his 31-year-old Russian opponent by 13:10 on the back of a great final round. Selby became the first Welshman to win a European title.
After a hiatus since the Beijing Olympic Games, where he won the bronze medal, Moldova's Veaceslav Gojan returned to form and took the gold for Moldova against Russian National Champion Dmitriy Polyanskiy in the bantamweight final.
Turkey's first finalist was Fatih Keles who caused a huge surprise before the home crowd in Ankara by beating Italy's reigning AIBA World Champion Domenico Valentino in an extremely close contest. The final scoring was an incredible draw at 17:17 with the local hero winning the lightweight gold medal by accepted scores.
Former AIBA Youth World Champion 21-year-old Raymond Moylette missed out on a medal at the Irish National Championships in February due to injury but was nevertheless called up to the national team for Ankara. It was a good decision by head coach Billy Walsh because the young Irish fighter defeated England's flag bearer, Commonwealth Games champion and European Championships silver medalist Thomas Stalker by 18:10 in the light welterweight class.
In the welterweight final Commonwealth Champion Fred Evans continued Wales's winning series in the gold medal bouts. The 20-year-old athlete led by 10:5 after two rounds and maintained his advantage against Belarus's former European Champion Magomed Nurudinov, who is ten years his elder, to deliver the second Welsh gold medal of the day.
Former European Junior Champion 24-year-old Maksim Koptyakov of Russia had a tough job against AIBA World Championships bronze medalist and local favourite Adem Kilicci. Despite the fact that Kilicci had the home ring advantage, Koptyakov demonstrated his excellent technique and won the European Championships in the middleweight class.
Ireland's 17-year-old AIBA Youth World Champion Joe Ward was magnificent at the National Championships in February when he defeated Olympic Games silver medalist Kenneth Egan in his first elite tournament. The super-talented Irish teenager continued his great performance, showing his counter-punching style to great effect to beat Russia's star Nikita Ivanov.
Azerbaijan's 18-year-old Teymur Mammadov had only two losses last year while he won the Bocskai Memorial Tournament in February on his first international tournament. Today he was too strong for Bulgaria's top favourite Tervel Pulev.
Italy's super heavyweight boxer Olympic Games winner and two-time AIBA World Champion Roberto Cammarelle travelled to Ankara in search of his first European title but unexpectedly he was defeated by Russia's 22-year-old newcomer Magomed Omarov in the tournament's spectacular finale.
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