One of Asia’s best international competitions, the Konakbayev Tournament was held in the city of Pavlodar in Kazakhstan, where many top nations fought for medals.
The tournament was named by Serik Konakbayev, a silver medallist at the Moscow 1980 Olympics, as a member of the Soviet Union’s boxing squad, who is now a member of the AIBA Executive Committee, and Vice-President of Kazakhstan Boxing Federation.
Athlete of the tournament
Kazakhstan’s Bocskai Memorial Tournament winner Azat Makhmetov won a gold medal by defeating Uzbekistan’s National Championships bronze medallist 19-year-old Abrorjon Kodirov.
Makhmetov trains in the city of Astana, and had one of the best performances of the Konakbayev Tournament.
The 23-year-old Flyweight class (52 kg) boxer has been fighting for a place in their Incheon 2014 Asian Games squad, but he has strong competition, in fighters such as London 2012 Olympian Ilyas Suleimenov, defending National Champion Adilet Kurmetov and AIBA World Boxing Championships competitor Olzhas Sattibayev.
Teams of the tournament
Kazakhstan secured seven gold medals in Pavlodar, including Youth National Games winner Madiyar Zhanuzak reaching his career highlight with the gold medal at the Bantamweight class (56 kg).
Among their gold medallists included Ruslan Madiyev who secured his second tournament title, following his gold medal at the Issatai Taimanov & Makhambet Utemisov Memorial Tournament.
Former ASBC Asian Youth Continental Champion Meirim Nursultanov was also a gold medal winner in Pavlodar.
Surprise of the tournament
Iraq’s Arab Games winner Hasan Ali Naser claimed a silver medal at the Issatai Taimanov & Makhambet Utemisov Memorial Tournament in Atyrau two weeks ago, and he was able to go one further in Pavlodar.
The 22-year-old Iraqi Light Flyweight class (49 kg) boxer not only advanced to the final in Pavlodar following his excellent triumph over Cuba’s Santiago Amador, but he went on to defeat Kazakhstan’s Karagandy-based teenager Akinet Baltabayev as well in the gold medal bout.
The Baghdad-based boxer has been a member of the national squad since 2010, and bagged Iraq’s lone gold medal in the Konakbayev Tournament.
The Iraqi squad has got an experienced coach in Mr. Damir Budanbekov of Kazakhstan, and his work on the boxers has definitely improved them in all aspects.
Ones to watch in the future
Madiyar Ashkeyev became famous at the 2012 Kazakhstan National Championships when he knocked down AIBA World Champion and Asian Games winner star Daniyar Yeleussinov in the quarter-finals.
Although he eventually lost to Yeleussinov by points in that national event, he put himself into the spotlight.
The Astana-based Ashkeyev defeated Kanagat Maralov in the final of the Welterweight class (69 kg) and secured his first tournament title in 2014 in Pavlodar.
Cuba’s Youth Olympic Games winner and Panamerican Games gold medallist Leinier Perot is their number two athlete in the Heavyweight class (91 kg), but has got enough experience to beat top level boxers as well.
The 21-year-old defeated Kazakhstan’s Asian Games bronze medallist Almat Serimov in the semi-final, and won the gold medal bout against Sweden’s AIBA World Championships competitor Gabriel Richards.
Stat/fact of the tournament
130 boxers from thirteen nations took part in the competition.
Sweden’s head coach decided to send two athletes to Pavlodar and both claimed a medal in the event: National Champion Gabriel Richards and 20-year-old Hampus Henriksson.