A three-day long European international competition for elite male boxers – the Belgrade Winners Tournament – was recently held in the capital city of Serbia. The host nation could not secure any gold medals in the last edition of the event but their newly crowned National Champion Dragan Veljkovic was able to win a top position for Serbia this time.
Athlete of the tournament
Hungary’s Balazs Bacskai is considered a world class boxer since 2006 when he claimed a gold medal at the AIBA Junior World Championships in Agadir. The 26-year-old boxer who trains in the club of Vasas-Sullos was a gold medallist at the 2010 EUBC European Continental Championships in Moscow. The Hungarian No.1 moved up to the Middleweight class (75 kg) six months ago and is trying to adapt to the rhythm of this weight class. He defeated Cyprus’ top boxer Kyriakos Spanos, stopped Serbia’s Dusan Klincov and finally Slovakia’s tough Henrich Bagin proving he is on a different level than most of the European competitors.
Team of the tournament
The Italian squad claimed four gold medals in the Belgrade Winners Tournament and topped the medal rankings of the event. Their gold medallists were not composed as their top athletes but all of them could be future star in the upcoming years. Ciro Cipriano (56 kg), Donato Cosenza (60 kg), multiple international tournament winner Dario Vangeli (64 kg) and EUBC European Continental Championships quarter-finalist Simone Fiori (81 kg) all won their weight classes in the Belgrade Winners Tournament.
Surprise of the tournament
New Zealand’s AIBA Oceanian Olympic Qualifiers silver medallist Bowyn Morgan is a strong Welterweight class (69 kg) boxer but his gold medal came as a small surprise in Belgrade. The 22-year-old Kiwi athlete stopped a local athlete in the semi-final and following that he was too smart for Armenia’s rising hope Vladimir Margaryan who could not repeat his semi-final performance in the gold medal bout.
Ones to watch in the future
The head coach of the Armenian national team spent time building up Vladimir Margaryan in the recent two years and registered him for his debut international tournament. The 23-year-old Welterweight class (69 kg) boxer was successful at youth level and claimed the gold medal in the last two editions of their National Elite Championships. Margaryan advanced to the final of his weight class after beating Canada’s London 2012 Olympics quarter-finalist Custio Clayton and proved he is a strong hope for the Caucasian country.
New Zealand had to replace their top boxer Commonwealth Championship’s silver medallist Joseph Parker and their new Super Heavyweight class (+91 kg) athlete Patrick Mailata won the category in Belgrade. The 19-year-old former rugby player defeated Armenia’s experienced Rafael Simonyan and Vladan Babic of Serbia in the final using lethal jabs to beating their European rivals.
Fact/stat of the tournament
Canada and New Zealand – two countries based outside of Europe – competed in the Belgrade Winners Tournament as part of their preparation to the Commonwealth Games to take place in Glasgow, Scotland at the end of July. The New Zealand’s boxers claimed a record number of two gold medals while the Canadians bagged two silvers in Belgrade.
Quote of the tournament
‘I am very happy to win my first international tournament after my illness in 2014. This was my very first gold medal in the Belgrade Winners Tournament which was a stronger competition with more boxers than last year. My final Slovakian opponent was totally unknown for me but he proved his strength in our bout. My first daughter will be born soon and this gives me extra motivation in the tournaments,” commented his gold medal Hungary’s EUBC European Continental Champion Balazs Bacskai.