After the AIBA Asian Olympic Qualifying Event came to an end in Astana, Kazakhstan, yesterday, focus is now switching to the European boxers who are preparing for their assault on the remaining 26 London 2012 Olympic Games quota places available for the region at the qualification tournament to be held in Trabzon, Turkey, from 13-21 April.
The European continent secured 46 qualification places for the Olympic Games at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Baku 2011 with three further boxers having acquired their quotas following their success during the World Series of Boxing Individual Championships last year. 211 boxers from 44 nations are expected to take part in this AIBA European Olympic Qualifying Event.
Europe's top boxing nations, Russia and Ukraine both have six athletes already qualified but they will be going all out in Trabzon to get a maximum number of ten boxers competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The Russian squad will consist of former AIBA World Champion Albert Selimov, current European Champions Maksim Koptyakov and Magomed Omarov. Former AIBA Junior World Championships silver medallist newcomer Artem Zaytsev was chosen to represent the nation at Light Welterweight, where only one place quota remains.
The Ukrainian team will be travelling to the qualification event with multiple National Champion Denis Shkarubo, newly crowned National Champion Oleksandr Shepelyuk, former European Junior Champion Pavlo Ishchenko and AIBA World Boxing Championships silver medallist Roman Kapitanenko, who will be competing at Super Heavyweight.
London 2012 Olympic Games host nation Great Britain will want to reach the maximum number of ten participants with five places still to fill. Former AIBA Cadet World Champion Anthony Ogogo, European Championships bronze medallist Charlie Edwards and European Youth Champion Martin Ward are the best hopes in the English squad. Joining them in Trabzon will be Scotland's Commonwealth Games silver medallist Josh Taylor and Welshman Joseph Cordina.
The Irish national squad's spearhead will be 18-year-old current European Champion and AIBA Youth World Champion Joseph Ward, who will look to make a big impact in the Light Heavyweight class. European Champion and Beijing Olympic Games bronze medallist Patrick Barnes also stands a good chance of increasing the number of Irish boxers that qualify for London 2012.
The French national squad only secured three Olympic places from Baku so will be travelling to Turkey with a team that has seven fighters. Nordine Oubaali and Abdelkader Bouhenia both took bronze medals in past AIBA World Boxing Championships so will be front-runners to qualify while Youth Olympic Games winner Tony Yoka and Rachid Hamani are also in the frame to get those all important quota places.
Azerbaijan will be competing with five boxers in Trabzon and with the city's proximity to the country, many fans are expected to travel and lend their support. Top Light flyweight boxer Salman Alizada, who is the youngest European Elite Champion in history, will seek to advance to the semi-finals to qualify for the Olympic Games.
The German national squad will also have several talented boxers taking to the ring in Trabzon with European Champion Denis Makarov, AIBA World Championships bronze medallist Ronny Beblik, European Championships bronze medallist Eugen Burhard and Johann Witt all involved in the team.
Armenia will travel with former European Champion Hovhannes Danielyan, who has moved up to Flyweight, while current European Youth Champion Koryun Soghomonyan will compete in the Light Flyweight class.
Hungary's top boxer Balazs Bacskai has got great chance to reach the quota in the Welterweight class while Croatia's AIBA Youth World Champion Filip Hrgovic, Belarus' Athens Olympic Games silver medallist Viktor Zuyev and WSB star Vazgen Safaryants, Moldova's current European Champion Veaceslav Gojan and Bulgaria's Tervel Pulev will also be in the mix for London 2012 quota places in Trabzon.
There is huge anticipation for this event with the quality expected to be at an all-time high. Some mouth-watering showdowns will take place when the fierce competition for those life-changing quota places gets underway.
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