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Six competition days were held in the 72nd edition of the Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria where the high quality of boxing was shown. The big powers won the titles of the prestigious international competition in Sofia where Cuban-born Javier Ibanez earned his first gold medal for Bulgaria.

The Strandja Memorial Tournament is the oldest continuous international boxing event on the European continent. It was the main international competition this week and many stars including AIBA World Champions and Olympic medallists joined it.

The Bulgarians impressed on the final’s day

Bulgaria’s Stoyka Petrova claimed silver medals at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in 2016 and 2018. Following this success, she married and returned to the boxing world as Stoyka Krasteva. The experienced Bulgarian controlled her fight against Kazakhstan’s 12-years-younger Angelina Lukas in the final of the flyweight (51kg) and opened the sixth day of competitions with a gold medal for the host nation.

Bulgaria’s next top girl, Stanimira Petrova, who claimed a gold medal at the 2014 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships, worked well in the final against Russia’s Karina Tazabekova and won the title of the featherweight (57kg).

Three of the Bulgarian men also reached the top of the podium at the Strandja Memorial Tournament including two-time European Champion Daniel Asenov (52kg), Javier Ibanez (57kg), and AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Radoslav Pantaleev (91kg). Ibanez claimed gold medals for Cuba at the Youth Olympic Games and AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in 2014 and, following his switch, he represented Bulgaria for the very first time.

Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira defeated Finland’s star Mira Potkonen in the final of the women’s lightweight

Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira was a newcomer in the national team at the 2017 Belgrade Winner Tournament but she managed successfully in the recent four years. She is a native talent in the sport and the defending AIBA Women’s World Champion in the lightweight division (60kg). The tough Brazilian knew her final opponent well enough, Finland’s Olympic Games bronze medalist Mira Potkonen, and prepared an easy strategy against her experienced rival. Ferreira moved ahead without any stoppage and her speed decided their re-match, taking Brazil’s only gold medal in Sofia.

The Uzbek stars dominated three categories including the super heavyweight

Uzbekistan sent a powerful team to the Strandja Memorial Tournament and among them Olympic Champion Shakhobiddin Zoirov who achieved an only bronze medal of the flyweight (52kg) following his unexpected loss to India’s Deepak Kumar. Asian Games winner Bobo-Usmon Baturov used the virtuoso style of boxing in the final of the welterweight (69kg) and stopped Ukraine’s Yevhenii Barabanov attacks. AIBA World Boxing Championships silver medallist Dilshodbek Ruzmetov was quicker than Russia’s Ruslan Kolesnikov in the final of the light heavyweight (81kg). The third Uzbek gold medal was achieved by AIBA World Champion Bakhodir Jalolov in the super heavyweight (+91kg), landing successful jabs in the final against Ukraine’s Tsotne Rogava.

Statistics/facts of the event

Altogether 220 boxers including 91 women competed in the Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia. Four out of the five Confederations as Europe, Asia, America and Africa sent their boxers to Bulgaria.

The athletes represented Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, India, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Morocco, Moldova, Mali, Poland, Romania, Russia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United States of America and Uzbekistan.

Bulgaria topped the medal table with five gold medals, followed by Uzbekistan with three impressive titles in Sofia. Brazil, Kazakhstan, Russia, the United States of America and Ukraine shared the remaining gold medals of the event.

The list of the gold medallists at the 72nd Strandja Memorial Tournament

  • Women’s 51kg: Stoyka Krasteva, Bulgaria
  • Women’s 57kg: Stanimira Petrova, Bulgaria
  • Women’s 60kg: Beatriz Ferreira, Brazil
  • Women’s 69kg: Valentina Khalzova, Kazakhstan
  • Women’s 75kg: Naomi Graham, United States
  • Men’s 52kg: Daniel Asenov, Bulgaria
  • Men’s 57kg: Javier Ibanez, Bulgaria
  • Men’s 63kg: Ilia Popov, Russia
  • Men’s 69kg: Bobo-Usmon Baturov, Uzbekistan
  • Men’s 75kg: Oleksandr Khyzhniak, Ukraine
  • Men’s 81kg: Dilshodbek Ruzmetov, Uzbekistan
  • Men’s 91kg: Radoslav Pantaleev, Bulgaria
  • Men’s +91kg: Bakhodir Jalolov, Uzbekistan