The Ukrainian team put on a sensational collective performance during the 16th edition of the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Baku. Its competitors secured four gold and one silver medal at the championships, the biggest haul by any nation at one event in the history of AIBA competitions. Next to the five medals their team achieved, a total of six quota places for the London 2012 Games were obtained. They could send a total of ten athletes to the Olympics with another four places available at the upcoming European Olympic Qualification Tournament in April.
The young and exciting Cuban squad finished in second position in the team ranking in Baku, proving boxing life in this Caribbean country is at an advanced stage of their re-building process. The Cuban team captain Julio Cesar De La Cruz and newcomer Lazaro Alvarez became heroes of their homeland with their gold medals while the squad achieved seven Olympic quotas in Baku.
Asia's leading boxing nation, Kazakhstan did not win a gold medal in Baku but their athletes had four podium finishes as well as gaining six quota places for the London Olympic Games, finishing third in the team event of the championships. Unexpectedly, Serik Sapiyev did not become World Champion for a third successive time in Baku but the younger team members like Adilbek Niyazymbetov and Ivan Dychko had excellent performances. The Kazakh team could still achieve a maximum ten quota places with the upcoming Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament to be held in Astana.
The AIBA World Boxing Championships' biggest surprise was the below-par performance of the Russian squad. At the last edition in Milan, the Russian contingent secured first place in the team event while this time around they only finished fourth. Living legends and defending champions, Egor Mekhontsev and Artur Beterbiev both changed weight classes and reached Olympic qualification but regrettably no titles.
China's boxing story in the recent decade is one of success, having invested heavily to develop the sport before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The hard work resulted in three quota places for London, while Zou Shiming became the first boxer in history to become triple world champion in the Light Flyweight category.
The last gold medal of the AIBA World Championships was acquired by the host nation's WSB star Magomedrasul Medzhidov, who became king of the Super Heavyweights after his close fought victory in front of his home crowd. Azerbaijan secured another silver medal and altogether four Olympic quota places for London.
England will host the forthcoming Olympic Games and will be buoyed by its excellent performance in Baku. At the last two European Championships and more recently at the AIBA World Championships their boxers have advanced to a final a total of six times but unfortunately each time taking silver. They will be hoping to go one step further in London next year.
With the 2016 Olympic Games hosted by Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's boxing performances are still at the developing stage. But after Everton Dos Santos Lopes secured a historical gold medal among the elite boxers in Baku, building on David Lourenco's first place at the 2010 AIBA Youth World Championships and Roselli Feitosa's final victory at the 2010 AIBA Women's World Championships, the future looks promising.
One of Asia's leading boxing nations Uzbekistan secured two bronze medals and four qualifications berths for London following the end of competition in Baku. Unfortunately two-time AIBA World Champion Abbos Atoev was defeated in his opening contest with Japan's Ryota Murata and will therefore need to book his place for London through the 2012 Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament in Astana.
India's national hero, Olympic Games bronze medallist Vijender Singh lost to Cuba's Emilio Correa in the first preliminary round in Baku and has one chance left to reach London next year. The youngest team member, 19-year-old Asian Games winner Vikash Krishan Yadav achieved an impressive bronze medal in Baku on his first appearance in a World Championship event.
The current best Ameican boxer, former World Champion Rau'shee Warren took bronze in Baku and will now become the first athlete from the USA to fight in a third Olympic Games. Errol Spence and young and exciting Joseph Diaz also qualified for the London Olympic Games.
Italy's top boxers, Domenico Valentino and Roberto Cammarelle could not defend their titles in Baku although both secured tickets for London. Italy's Light Welterweight No.1, Vincenzo Mangiacapre further tested his skills in Baku and will now be confident to hone them even more to become a major contender next year. Five Italian fighters joined Clemenre Russo in securing their Olympic quota at the WSB Individual Championships in May.
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