The fifth competition day of the Baku 2015 European Games was comprised of 31 excellent men’s and women’s bouts at the Crystal Hall 2 venue, where the winners all advanced through to the quarter-final stages.
Bout of the day
Hungary’s two-time Olympian Miklos Varga suffered from a loss of form in 2014, but looks to be back to his best in Baku after a superb victory over Russia’s Konstantin Bogomazov.
The Russian began the bout in aggressive fashion, but could not maintain his attacks which led to a resurgence from Varga.
From the very beginning of the second round Varga was the one in control, and he turned up the heat even higher in the third frame.
After their hugely entertaining bout had finished, the hand of the Hungarian was raised, as he became the first fighter to eliminate a Russian boxer in the boxing competition of the European Games.
Varga will now meet France’s Sofiane Oumiha for a place in the semi-final.
Team of the day
Azerbaijan won both of their bouts in the men’s section of the Games on Day 5, with both of their winners gold medal candidates.
World Series of Boxing Flyweight (52 kg) Elvin Mamishzada began the winning day for the home nation after he used quick combinations to eliminate Irish National Champion Myles Casey.
Former AIBA World Champion Albert Selimov was similarly impressive on home soil, and the 29-year-old Lightweight (60 kg) star was too powerful and accurate for Georgia’s EU Championships silver medallist Otar Eranosyan.
The Azeri will next be competing in the quarter-final against Bulgaria’s Chemistry Cup bronze medallist Elian Dimitrov.
Surprises of the day
Valentina Alberti is one of the most inexperienced members of the Italian women’s team, but enjoyed a wonderful victory over Sweden’s AIBA Women’s Youth World Champion Agnes Alexiusson.
After the 21-year-old Italian had struggled in the opening round, an excellent change of tactics saw her attack more from close range, which made life very uncomfortable for the Swedish teenager.
Alberti’s pressure resulted in a deserved win, and she will now meet Denmark’s Camilla Skov Jensen in the quarter-final of the Women’s Light Welterweight class (64 kg).
Bulgaria’s EUBC European Junior Continental Champion Daniel Asenov is one of the youngest boxers in the entire tournament, and he displayed his burgeoning potential with a clinical victory over Spain’s two-time European Champion Jose Kelvin De La Nieve Linares at Flyweight (52 kg).
Asenov’s youthful energy saw him beat De La Nieve to the punch time and time again, and his triumph will be rewarded with a match against Azerbaijan’s gold medal contender Elvin Mamishzada.
Ones to watch
Germany’s Hamza Touba is a member of the Rafako Hussars Polans WSB franchise, and defeated top rivals in Season V.
The 24-year-old Flyweight (52 kg) is also impressing in Baku, with his latest win over Ukraine’s Ihor Sopinskyi a delight to watch.
Britain’s Sandy Ryan won a silver medal at the last edition of the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Jeju, and has gold medal expectations in Baku.
Ryan’s victory over German Light Welterweight (64 kg) Cindy Rogge further confirmed her status as one of the best of the world in her weight class, and her next rival will be Azerbaijan’s EUBC European Women’s Continental Champion Elena Vystropova.
Fact of the day
Russia lost one bout today, but their team record still stands at a phenomenal 15-1 in Baku.
Besides the top nations from the European continent, Georgia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia also won bouts on Day 5 in the European Games.
Quotes of the day
“Although it may have looked like a tough fight from outside, it was not for me. My opponent was not bad and I made some mistakes, but I will improve on them in the quarter-final. Sissokho hurt me several times and I did not expect that. The main work was done by my coach and team in preparing me properly. If I was not confident about my ability to win the gold, then I would not be here,” commented Russia’s Alexandr Besputin who defeated Spain’s Youba Ndiaye Sissokho at Welterweight (69 kg).
‘I am disappointed right now as I wanted a medal here in Baku so much. I had a bad day and I could not perform the way I wanted because I had a lot of pressure from myself. I knew my Italian opponent ran in with punches, so the tactic was to answer with some shots and then move back to prepare to the next attack. She was good, and I could not realise the discussed tactics well enough,” said Sweden’s Agnes Alexiusson after her unexpected loss to Italy’s Valentina Alberti in the Women’s Light Welterweight class (64 kg).
“I am very sorry for what happened with my British opponent. He was hitting with powerful punches, and I was trying to slip them, As a result, there was a clash of heads. It was a complete accident because he was taller than me, so I tried to avoid him from a lower position. I know he lost the bout on his 19th birthday, but I am sure we will hear a lot more about Muhammad Ali in the future,” commented Italian veteran Vincenzo Picardi who defeated Britain’s rising star Muhammad Ali in the Flyweight class (52 kg).
The third stage of the Round of 16 preliminary bouts will continue in the Baku 2015 European Games tomorrow.
Boxers from the Women’s Lightweight (60 kg), Men’s Light Welterweight (64 kg), Men’s Welterweight (69 kg), Men’s Middleweight (75 kg) and Men’s Heavyweight (91 kg) classes will all be in action across 35 bouts on Day 6.
(Lead photo courtesy of Baku 2015 European Games)