Athens Olympic Games silver medallist and Asian Games winner, Thai Worapoj Petchkoom won the Southeast Asian Games boxing tournament in Indonesia about a week ago. Following his victory, he had to fly more than 10'000 km to compete at the Olympic Test Event in London. On his opening contest, the veteran had a two points deficit after three minutes against Ireland's former National Champion, Declan Geraghty. But he could finally eliminate his European rival by 13:12. He therefore has secured at least a bronze medal at the ExCeL.
Current Asian Champion and Asian Games silver medallist, Chinese Chang Yong also made his debut on Friday 25 November. The 24-year-old flyweight had a tough opponent, Russian National Championships bronze medallist Yevgeniy Yermakov, but the Chinese could turn back the fight in the last round to win by a close 11:9.
European Championships bronze medallist, Irish David Oliver Joyce had a hectic battle against the young Italian Donato Cosenza who is lightweight No.2 behind AIBA World Champion Domenico Valentino. The experienced Irishman won a spectacular bout by 12:8 to advance to the semis.
Joyce's next opponent will be European Championships bronze medallist, 24-year-old German Eugen Burhard who eliminated Beijing Olympian and Pan-American Games silver medallist, Brazil's Robson Conceicao by 9:6. As the Brazilian already secured his quota place at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Baku 2011, he will have another chance to win a contest in the same arena next summer.
Still in the same lightweight class, former European Youth Champion, 20-year-old English Martin Ward was not at his top level for the second day of the competition. But he defeated Kazakhstan's National Champion and Grand Prix Usti nad Labem winner, Samat Bashenov by a narrow 14:13.
On the women side of the competition, multiple Pan-American Champion Argentinean Paola Benavides caused the biggest surprise of the day. Although she was only bronze medallist at the Pan-American Games in Guadalajara a month ago, she was awarded best women boxer from AMBC in 2009. The South American shocked the Indian ringside in London where she eliminated five-time AIBA World Champion Chungneijang Mary Kom by 13:9 due to her magnificent final two minutes.
Russia's National Champion, veteran Olesya Gladkova had to fight against local flyweight hope Nina Smith who had the right to compete in London in the absence of current European Champion Nicola Adams. As expected the Russian boxer won the bout by a large margin of points (19:5).
The host nation's European Championships bronze medallist, Natasha Jonas from Liverpool, had not competed in any worldwide event before but she shined in the ExCeL. Jonas gave her best in the quarter-final against US No.1, AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships bronze medallist, Queen Underwood and advanced to the last four.
Two-time AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships silver medallist and Asian Games winner, Chinese Cheng Dong had also a real battle against multiple Pan-American Champion, Brazilian Adriana Araujo in the lightweight class. The Asian could not dominate the fight but won closely and will meet with Italian Romina Marenda in semi-finals.
Great Britain's top women boxer, Savannah Marshall earned a silver medal at the 6th AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships in the welterweight. But since this category is not part of the Olympic program, she is stepping up into the 75kg middleweight class. Marshall won all of her four rounds against Oceanian Champion, Australian Naomi Fischer-Rasmussen and secured her place in the semi-finals where she will meet with US National Champion Frenchon Crews.
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