The Gee Bee Tournament held every year in Helsinki, Finland, once again assembled some of the best talent around for its 31st edition. With ten men and two women weight divisions on offer, there was plenty of quality action on show. The host country will have been delighted with their impressive performances during the week, which bode well for the rest of the season.
Finland's best hope for the London 2012 Olympic Games, 20-year-old former European Junior Championships bronze medallist Ville Hukkanen, secured a gold medal by eliminating Estonia's European Cup silver medallist Ainar Karlson in the semi-final before defeating England's Lawrence Osueke to take the title. Hukkanen proved masterful as he unleashed several telling hooks on his way to a comprehensive 17:8 victory in the Light Heavyweight final.
The Welterweight division was divided into two groups with two gold medals made available and Finland's Antii Hietala delighted the home crowds as he powered past Andre Silva of Portugal 11:5 to finish top of the podium. However in the second final, his compatriot, teenager Jarkko Ojapalo, was unable to handle the flurry of punches dished out by the impressive Russian, former European Youth Champion Alexandr Besputin, who triumphed 27:10 in punishing style.
In the two women's finals, Finland claimed both wins. Firstly, AIBA Women's World Championships bronze medallist Hanne Maekinen came out on top against Norway Shora Jahromi at 54kg to win 17:10. Shortly after, EU Women's Championships bronze medallist Mira Potkonen took the Lightweight title by defeating England's great future hope Chantelle Cameron.
In the first of the men's finals, Bulgaria's new Light Flyweight No.1, Aleksandar Aleksandrov, who had eliminated Armenia's current European Youth Champion Koryun Soghomonyan in the semi-final stage, overwhelmed Sweden's newcomer Erfan Kakahani 18:6 in their gold medal contest. Bulgaria made it a quick fire double with former European Junior Champion Stefan Ivanov earning the gold in the Flyweight final. The 20-year-old best boxer trophy winner at the Strandja Memorial Tournament last month, was too strong for Portugal's Pedro Matos, as he completely outmanoeuvred his opponent to win 24:11.
Sweden's European Championships silver medallist Salomo N'Tuve eliminated Russia's Governor Cup winner Nazir Balayev and Welshmen Olympic Test Event winner Sean McGoldrick to set-up a final showdown with Russian National Championships bronze medallist Yevgeniy Averin. The Swedish boxer threw everything he had in his locker during the Bantamweight final but Averin had the know-how to take the title 15:10.
The fans were treated to an all-British final in the Lightweight category in Helsinki as Welsh Youth Olympian Zack Davies and England's Samuel Maxwell went head-to-head for the gold medal. The young English boxer, who had eliminated Russian National Champion Ildar Vaganov in the semi-final, demonstrated his power once again against the Welshman to claim the gold medal after beating him 23:10.
Russia's Armen Zakaryan, of Armenian-descent, overawed Morocco's Abdelhak Aatakni 20:13 in the Light Welterweight final to continue his rich vein of form. AIBA World Championships silver medallist and World Series of Boxing star Andranik Hakobyan from Armenia controlled the Middleweight final against Sweden's Stars Tournament silver medallist Amir Smesem to secure the title in resounding fashion 20:7.
Russia's 21-year-old European Youth Champion Aleksey Yegorov is really making a name for himself and will most probably be one of the shining lights in the next Olympic era. He dominated the Heavyweight final against Sweden's Demba Dumbuya and won at a canter 22:5. In the Super Heavyweight class, Russia's current European Champion Magomed Omarov, who has suffered only one loss in the last ten months, powered past Latvia's 20-year-old Nikita Maculevics in the final to win gold, as the referee stopped the contest in the second round. These two victories by Russia saw them take a total of five gold medals in Helsinki.
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