One of the most toughest junior events on the planet, the Heydar Aliyev Junior Cup was came to an end in Baku, Azerbaijan, where the world's top boxing nations competed for medals. The European nations also used this competition as active preparation for the forthcoming European Junior Championships which will be held in Sofia next month.
15-year-old Ukrainian newcomer Daniel Lapin, who was bronze medallist in his National Championships, really caught the eye. The Simferopol-based Pinweight boxer won the first gold medal at the tournament by defeating Turkey's newly crowned National Junior Champion Raif Kir Suleymanoglu 11:9.
Azerbaijan's 16-year-old AIBA Junior World Championships quarter-finalist Elnur Shafizade, who moved up a weight class after that event, showed excellent footwork against India's Shyam Kumar Kakara, who was also a participant in Astana last year. Shafizade won their contest 15:9 and defended his throne in Baku.
The host nation's second gold medal was achieved by defending European Schoolboys Champion, 15-year-old Tayfur Aliyev, who made his debut at junior level in Baku. For the gold in the 50kg weight class, he defeated Uzbekistan's only gold medallist in the Matviychuk Junior Tournament, Abdulkay Sharakhmatov, 11:8.
India's top boxer in this age group, Naveen Kumar, who was silver medallist at the 2011 AIBA Junior World Championships in Astana, stopped Russia's European Schoolboys Champion Kiril Kuznetsov in the Light Bantamweight final. This great victory resulted in the Indian boxer also defending his title at the Heydar Aliyev Junior Cup.
Russia's European Schoolboys Championships bronze medallist Aleksey Lomonosov caused a huge surprise in the semi-finals when he defeated Ukraine's defending European Junior Champion Viktor Petrov. The Russian Bantamweight then triumphed in the final over Uzbekistan's Bektemir Melikuziyev by accepted scores. Kazakhstan's division favourite Zatulla Rauan achieved only a bronze medal in Baku.
Current Junior Ukrainian Champion, 16-year-old Vitaliy Tereshchuk, who lives in Vinnitsa, eliminated his big Asian rival, India's AIBA Junior World Championships quarter-finalist Manish Kaushik by individual scores in the Featherweight final, securing a career highlight for himself.
European Schoolboys Championships silver medallist, 16-year-old Iman Ahmadli from Azerbaijan claimed the gold medal in the Lightweight final after beating Kazakhstan's National Junior Champion Kazibay Zhalgasbay 15:12. The host nation's talented European Junior Championships bronze medallist Nurlan Naghiyev surprisingly lost his first contest at the Heydar Aliyev Junior Cup.
Uzbekistan's 15-year-old Shakromjon Yadgarov eliminated both his top rivals by accepted scores with in the semi-finals, Hungary's best junior fighter, European Junior Championships bronze medallist Bernard Barsony, before coming out on top against Azerbaijan's Siraj Suleymanov in the gold medal contest.
The third gold medal for Ukraine was acquired by Junior National Championships silver medallist Oleksiy Tokarchuk at the 66kg weight class following his great victory over Azerbaijan's Ramin Hajiyev.
Kazakhstan's only gold medal in the tournament was achieved by Ramazan Tauakel kept up his perfect record in Baku after being too strong for Azerbaijan's European Schoolboys Championships bronze medallist Shamil Aliyev in the final contest.
It was a first major international tournament for Azerbaijan's Nijat Sadikov who competed in front of his friends and family. The talented Azeri Middleweight boxer put in a sensational performance and secured the gold medal after beating Kazakhstan's Dauren Otepbay, who was a silver medallist at the Nationals in February.
Bulgaria's rising star, AIBA Junior World Championships quarter-finalist, 16-year-old Blagoy Naydenov, a gold medal contender at the upcoming European Junior Championships, triumphed over Azerbaijan's Orkhan Aliyev in the final to become the first ever Bulgarian to do so at Heydar Aliyev Junior Cup.
European Schoolboy Champion Muhamedali Tairov eliminated his top rival, Hungary's Laszlo Komor 6:2 in the semi-finals before defeated his teammate Sahib Shukurov in the gold medal contest. Azerbaijan's Tairov was a silver medallist at the last edition of the European Junior Championships and will now target reaching the top of the podium in Sofia now.
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