This Olympic year is bringing us non-stop action and the world's best boxers meet from today at the Bocskai Memorial Tournament in the Eastern part of Hungary, in Debrecen.
Five AIBA World Champions, China's Olympic Games winner Zou Shiming, Uzbekistan's two-time winner Abbos Atoev and the virtuoso Cuban trio Lazaro Alvarez, Roniel Iglesias and Julio Cesar de la Cruz have all entered the annual Bocskai Memorial Tournament; which will celebrate its 56th edition.
According to the finalised entry list, thirteen of its competitors secured a bronze medal in an AIBA World Boxing Championships; while a further 21 athletes won gold medals in different continental elite events, making the upcoming Bocskai Memorial Tournament one of the strongest ever in the competition's history. Five out of the ten titleholders will also be present and will be doing their utmost to defend their thrones over the next few days.
Cuba regained its place among the leading boxing nations at the last edition of the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Baku. The Caribbean nation is sending its best boxers to the Bocskai Memorial Tournament as it has done over the past three years. The squad contains three AIBA World Champions, three Olympic medallists and seven of their athletes have already secured a qualification place to the 2012 London Olympics.
The Russian squad will be taking part with its a strong second team, including the Super Heavyweight European Champion, Sergey Kuzmin, as well as medallists from the last year's European Championships such as Nikita Ivanov, Belik Galanov and Dmitriy Polyanskiy. Nikita Ivanov was the only boxer last year who was able to outfight Cuba's AIBA World Champion, Julio Cesar de la Cruz. Their potential re-match is the most anticipated head-to-head at Debrecen.
The Chinese squad will be taking part in the tournament for the very first time, with its best boxers including three-time AIBA World Champion Zou Shiming, Olympic Games silver medallist Zhang Zhilei, AIBA World Championships bronze medallist heavyweight titan Wang Xuanxuan, Asian Games winner Hu Qing and current Asian Champions Chang Yong and Maimaiti Tuersunqiong.
Uzbekistan had not sent its boxers to the Bocskai Memorial Tournament since 1999 but the strong Central Asian nation will be present once again this year. The Uzbek head coach selected only five boxers for the tournament, but the quality of this team is extremely high. The great potential of the squad can be seen through its calibre of boxers, with two-time AIBA World Champion Abbos Atoev, Asian Games silver medallist Uktamjon Rahmonov and rising star Rustam Tulaganov all travelling to Hungary.
England has also sent some excellent fighters to Debrecen; the squad includes AIBA World Championships bronze medallist Tom Stalker, AIBA World Championships silver medallist Anthony Joshua and European Championships bronze medallist Gamal Yafai. The only Welshmen in the event will be current European Champion and London Olympian, Fred Evans, who will be fighting in the Welterweight division.
The host nation's team, Hungary, will not have a full squad to take part in the tournament as two-time AIBA World Championships bronze medallist Gyula Kate is unable to take part due to a shoulder operation. While Beijing Olympic Games quarter-finalist Imre Szello will be fighting in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) during the event. Hungary's No.1 fighter, European Champion Balazs Bacskai has not qualified for the London Olympic Games as of yet but will be in top form and ready to defend his title in Debrecen.
Mauritius' No.1 boxer, All Africa Games winner Richarno Colin, who remained unbeaten in 2011, is also one of the titleholders at the Bocskai Memorial Tournament. We should be sure to see some exciting action from Azerbaijan's former AIBA World Championships bronze medallist, Samir Mammadov, at the Bocskai Memorial Tournament. We also expect strong competition from the South Korean, Turkish, Moroccan, Tunisian, Polish, Swedish and Croatian teams competing in Debrecen.
Copyright © 2012 AIBA http://www.aiba.org