It was a final day to remember at the 56th edition of the Bocskai Memorial Tournament in Hungary where more than 1,000 spectators had come out in force to lend their support to the boxers battling it out for supremacy.
Reigning Asian Champion, 24-year-old Chang Yong of China and Korea's current National Champion Shin Dong Myung both had great runs to the Flyweight final in Debrecen where the temperature outdoors hit a freezing to -22C. Yong had defeated local hero Zsolt Dobradi and Myung had overpowered Mukhammad Shekhov in the semi-finals to set it this mouth-watering showdown. In the final, the Chinese star was leading 11:7 after the first two rounds before putting on a masterclass in the third as Yong won the gold medal 21:11 in spectacular style. He was then awarded the best boxer trophy for the way in which he went about his business in taking the title in such spectacular fashion. Many will look forward to Yong and Myung locking horns once again at the upcoming AIBA Asian Olympic Qualifying Event in Astana this April.
South Korea's AIBA World Championships silver medallist and current Asian Champion Shin Jong Hun is a virtuoso technician with a lightning quick hand speed. The 22-year-old Korean outmanoeuvred Hungary's European Championships bronze medallist Istvan Ungvari 12:6 to make it a second local scalp in as many matches after his win against Istvan Lakatos in the Light Flyweight semis. Shin Jong Hun is a rising star in this weight category and taking the top prize at the Bocskai Memorial Tournament now establishes him as a true contender.
Russia's former National Champion Vislan Dalkhayev secured a silver medal at this tournament two years ago but celebrated wildly as he went one better this year. His opponent in the Bantamweight final was Slovakia's new sensation, 18-year-old Michal Zatorsky, who only started boxing in 2007. The experienced Russian fighter started tentatively, trying to get the measure of the young prodigy, but found his range to triumph 14:9. The young Slovakian boxer will have taken great pride in his run to the final which included the defeat of China's Asian Games silver medallist Zhang Jiawei in the last round, his main target now will be honours at the upcoming AIBA Youth World Championships.
Russia's European Championships silver medallist Dmitriy Polyanskiy went up a weight class to fight in the Lightweight division and what a way to announce your arrival in this category by claiming a gold medal in Debrecen. His match-up with Uzbekistan's London Olympian Fazliddin Gaibnazarov would have been one to savour, however due to injury he was unable to fight so Polyanskiy was awarded the walk-over and the title.
England's AIBA World Championships bronze medallist Thomas Stalker, currently leading the official World Ranking, was involved in a high-octane battle with Russia's 19-year-old European Junior Champion Vitaliy Dunaytsev. The Olympic gold medal hopeful from Liverpool, who had advanced to the Light Welterweight final after overwhelming Korea's Shim Hyun Young, started off well before turning up the heat in the latter stages to dominate his young Russian rival and win 24:9.
In the Welterweight final Hungary's best boxer, European Champion 24-year-old Balazs Bacskai led Moldova's World Combat Games winner and London Olympian Vasilie Belous from the first bell. The local favourite showed great skills to triumph 18:8 and defend his throne in Debrecen. "I am incredibly happy to win the gold medal in the front of the local fans here", declared Bacskai on retaining is title, "and I look forward to keeping up these kind of performances at the upcoming European Olympic Qualifying Event in Trabzon where I need to reach the final to ensure my place at the London 2012 Olympic Games".
Hungary's Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist and London Olympian Zoltan Harcsa turned 19 just three months ago and wowed the home crowd on his way to the final by inflicting defeat on both two-time AIBA World Champion Abbos Atoev of Uzbekistan and Poland's Tomasz Jablonski. The young Hungarian though could not repeat the feat in the gold medal contest and as he lost the Middleweight final to Russia's rising superpower, AIBA Youth World Championships bronze medallist Dmitriy Bivol, 14:7.
Russia's European Championships silver medallist Nikita Ivanov, Bocskai Memorial Tournament Light Heavyweight titleholder, was too strong for China's AIBA World Championships quarter-finalist Meng Fanlong. The final verdict was 17:10 after an enthralling contest between the two top class boxers.
Hungary's two-time European Championships bronze medallist Jozsef Darmos and Uzbekistan's 20-year-old Sydney Jackson Memorial Tournament winner Rustam Tulaganov put on an excellent battle in the Heavyweight final contest. Darmos, who eliminated Russia's Abdulkhamid Nurmagomedov with some devastating left hooks in the semis, had a two point deficit after the second round but found the reserves to turn back the fight to his advantage and take a second Hungarian gold medal in Debrecen. His promising Uzbek opponent, who overpowered the tall Chinese AIBA World Championships bronze medallist Wang Xuanxuan in his previous contest, will be one to watch this spring as he goes in search of his quota for the Olympic Games at the AIBA Asian Olympic Qualifying Event.
In the Super Heavyweight final, England's big Olympic Games gold medal hopeful, the powerful AIBA World Championships silver medallist Anthony Joshua, once again demonstrated why many have compared him to a young Lennox Lewis. He was in no mood to take prisoners as he threw everything at Uzbekistan's Asian Championships silver medallist Sardorbek Abdullayev in the early stages of their fight. This left no option to Olim Mukhamedov, in the Uzbek corner, but to throw the towel so save his boxer from further punishment as the fight was stopped at the beginning of the final round.
It was a truly spectacular 56th edition of this quality Bocskai Memorial Tournament with some of the best boxers on the planet showcasing their skills. If this competition was anything to go by, 2012 promises to be one of the greatest years of boxing in recent memory.
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