The AIBA European Olympic Qualification Event saw no fewer than 54 preliminary-round bouts across two sessions in Samsun on Monday, with the winners securing their passage through to the quarter-finals and taking a big step towards a quota place for Rio 2016.
The Women’s Flyweight (51kg), Lightweight (60kg) and Middleweights (75kg) were joined by the Men’s Light Flyweight (49kg), Flyweight (52kg), Light Welterweight (64kg) and Super Heavyweights (+91kg) in a marathon of top-class boxing.
Bulgarian top seed Stanimira Petrova opened up the day against Turkey’s Neriman Istik, and had no trouble adapting to her new class having won the bantamweight gold two years ago in Jeju. The home favourite could find no answer as Petrova used her height advantage well to take the unanimous decision and inflict Turkey’s first defeat of the competition.
“I am happy with my performance today and we were able to surprise the Turkish boxer with our tactics. I tried something new in my style which worked well but I know I have to do more in my next bout. I am sure I can beat Italy’s Marzia Davide once again but it will be a tough quarter-final,” said Petrova after her contest.
Having narrowly missed out on a place at London 2012, Norway’s Marielle Hansen took a step closer to Rio 2016 as she surprised the Russian European Confederation silver medallist Saiana Sagataeva with her aggressive style, before Ireland’s Christine Desmond inflicted a surprise defeat on the Dutch European Games champion Nouchka Fontijn.
“I am absolutely thrilled with the win. Nouchka Fontijn is the best in Europe if not the world. I gave it everything and I had a good first two rounds. She came back in the third but I worked hard. It was all about my performance on the day and I am delighted to get through this tough task,” said the Irish middleweight southpaw, who now meets Hungary’s AIBA Women’s Youth World Champion Petra Szatmari after she eliminated the Spanish veteran Miriam Gutierrez.
France’s Erika Guerrier registered a surprise win over one of the favourites for middleweight gold, Great Britain’s AIBA Women’s World Champion and Commonwealth Games winner Savannah Marshall, before Turkey’s Sema Caliskan overcame Azerbaijan’s Elena Vystropova. Marshall’s flyweight teammate Nicola Adams had no such trouble as she went through against Iulia Coroli.
British WSB boxer Galal Yafai again showed why he has been drafted in to the national side as he dominated the second half of his bout against Romania’s Enver Amis to set up a quarter-final showdown against Moldova’s Daniil Platonovschi, and Spain’s Samuel Carmona Heredia won his tie against Hungary’s 18-year-old Gabor Virban with some spectacular boxing.
“I am very satisfied because we knew that my rival was a strong and clever boxer. The first round was close and I think I dominated the second, but I was stronger in the third round than my Hungarian opponent. I hope I can continue my road to Rio on Wednesday,” said Spain’s newest sensation after the bout.
Azerbaijan’s Cuban-born star Lorenzo Sotomayor Collazo used his reach to overcome Ireland’s Dean Walsh at light welterweight. Walsh’s five-time AIBA Women’s World Champion teammate Katie Taylor controlled her match against the Czech Republic’s Martina Schmoranzova and she reaches the quarter-final stages along with lightweight title rivals Anastasia Beliakova of Russia, Italy’s AIBA Women’s Youth World Champion Irma Testa, Azerbaijan’s Yana Alekseevna and Sweden’s 2014 Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist Agnes Alexiusson.
Bulgaria’s defending EUBC European Confederation Champion, 19-year-old Daniel Asenov, was able to turn around his first match against Moldova’s Alexandr Riscan and will now face Georgia’s Avtandil Tchubabria after he eliminated Spain’s Bocskai Memorial Tournament winner Gabriel Escobar.
A huge day of boxing reached its climax with Azerbaijan’s two-time AIBA World Super Heavyweight Champion Mahammadrasul Majidov showing a return to form with a strong performance against Ireland’s Dean Gardiner, before Bulgaria’s promising Petar Belberov defeated his great Russian rival Maxim Babanin.