The Swedish boxing team has a long-standing tradition of inviting the Olympic host nation for a friendly competition each Olympic year. This year, the British team was invited to fight against the Swedes in January. Traditionally, we know Boxing as an individual sport, but friendly encounters such as these mean that the team events now also have their place in our beloved combat sport.
Great Britain sent its best women fighters to the event, which was held in Uppsala, the fourth largest city in Sweden. The men's team also had the opportunity to gain some international experiences while in Sweden. In the last two editions of their dual series, Sweden has remained victorious, however this year the Olympic host country came out on top.
European Championship bronze medallist, 28-year-old Bashir Hassan, secured a Swedish victory in the dual match. The experienced local boxer, who has been part of the national team for ten years, defeated England's Commonwealth Youth Games winner 18-year-old Qais Ashfaq by a close 17:14.
Sweden's European Championship bronze medallist, veteran Helena Falk, continued the Swedish team's successful performance in Uppsala. She had a fierce battle against England's Olympic Test Event winner, Natasha Jonas, and the fight resulted in another narrow contest. The final verdict of their lightweight bout was 24:21 to Falk.
The only Welshmen in the British squad was Commonwealth Youth Games silver medallist and Youth Olympian, 20-year-old Zack Davies. The young Welshmen secured the first British victory in the lightweight class in Uppsala. He triumphed over European Championship quarter-finalist Redouane Kaya with a win of 18:16.
England's brightest hope for the future in women's boxing is 20-year-old Chantelle Cameron, who called upon all of her skills to defeat Sweden's AIBA Youth World Championship silver medallist, 17-year-old Patricia Berghult at the friendly event.
Sweden's only boxer so far to have qualified for the London Olympic Games is Anthony Yigit, who achieved this great feat at the AIBA World Championships in Baku last year. In Uppsala, the 20-year-old light welterweight boxer defeated England's young hope Sam McNess by 24:17, this resulted in a narrow lead for the Swedish squad.
AIBA World Championship silver medallist and European Champion, Savannah Marshall and Sweden's former AIBA World Champion, 32-year-old Anna Laurell, fought a world class battle in the Olympic middleweight division. The 21-year-old Marshall, who moved up from welterweight only last year proved too strong for Laurell, thereby leading to an equaliser between the two teams.
Sweden's finest super heavyweight boxer, 20-year-old Otto Wallin, kept his focus solely on the sport and fought an incredible last fight at the event against England's towering Fraser Clarke. In this final bout, Sweden managed to secure the victory thanks to Wallin's fantastic performance. The Sundsvalls BK boxer is the Swedish squad's secret weapon and it could well be he is able to qualify for the London Olympic Games also.
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