The annual Radovan Bisic Tournament was last weekend in Banja Luka, Bosnia & Herzegovina as 35 fighters from eight European nations competed for medals. With the high demand from spectators, the tournament ring was placed in the main square of Banja Luka and attracted 3,500 local fans who fervently supported the boxers as the host nation's fighters claimed an impressive six gold medals.
The Bosnian & Herzegovia Boxing Federation has been organising a high number of international competitions in parallel to the Radovan Bisic Tournament every year with Hakija Turajlic Tournament in Sarajevo and the Aco Stankovic Tournament both very popular. There is also a much acclaimed international event for youth boxers in Mostar.
In the first final of the event, Poland's 19-year-old European Youth Championships quarter-finalist Sylwester Kozlowski defeated Slovakia's Rene Rajko at Bantamweight (56kg). The host nation's first gold medal was then achieved by AIBA World Championships competitor Mario Aleksic, who shocked Hungary's 21-year-old Zlatko Hrbic Tournament winner Krisztian Nagy in the Lightweight (60kg) final.
Poland's Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist Dawid Michelus is only 19 but he is one of the best boxers to come out of the country for some time. Michelus was too strong for the host nation's Stevo Zolak, who competed at the 2009 and 2011 AIBA World Boxing Championships. In the second group of the same Light Welterweight (64kg) class, Bosnia & Herzegovina's Bojan Aladjic triumphed over Hungary's 19-year-old National Championships bronze medallist Jozsef Herczeg.
Bosnia & Herzegovina's best boxer, multiple-National Champion Velibor Vidic, who has been a member of his national squad since 2005, dominated the first Welterweight (69kg) final against Hungary's Gergo Bene and as a result Vidic also took home the best boxer trophy. Due the high number of competitors, the athletes at Welterweight were separated into two groups and following Vidic's victory, Croatian veteran Borna Katalinic won the second final after stopping Serbia's Nemanja Lukacevic.
The host nation's multiple-National Champion Danijel Topalovic, who had competed in every major international event during the London Olympic era, defeated Slovenia's 19-year-old National Champion Aljaz Venko in the semi-finals before overcoming the challenge of Montenegro teenager Marko Bozovic in the Middleweight (75kg) final.
The best fight of the event was the one that pitted veteran Darko Kucuk, a member of the Bosnian national squad since 2005, against Serbia's 23-year-old Golden Gloves Tournament winner Marko Nikolic, who had just recovered from a long-term injury. Finally the host nation's pride claimed the gold medal after winning their Light Heavyweight (81kg) battle 2:1.
Croatia's AIBA European Olympic Qualifying Event Trabzon 2012 bronze medallist Marko Calic almost achieved the quota for the London Olympics but in the end just missed out. However, he proved in Banja Luka that he has the attributes to join the select group of elite Heavyweight (91kg) boxers. Calic did not give an inch to Hungary's 20-year-old Youth Olympian Jozsef Zsigmond while Montenegro's 19-year-old Nikola Milacic, who competed in junior and youth events up until recently, defeated Slovakia's Erik Tlakanec in the second group.
Bosnia & Herzegovina's last gold medal was acquired by newcomer Marko Colic, who triumphed over Montenegro's AIBA World Boxing Championships competitor Mark Radonjic, who had just moved up to Super Heavyweight (91+kg).
The hosts will have been delighted with the number of medals to home boxers but also at the support shown by the vast legions of fans who had really added to the exceptional atmosphere during the whole competition.
Copyright © 2012 AIBA http://www.aiba.org