A combined day was held on the ninth boxing competition day of the Baku 2015 European Games, as the afternoon session contained quarter-final bouts, while the first instalment of the semi-finals was held in the evening session.
Bout of the day
Netherlands’ Nouchka Fontijn has enjoyed an excellent tournament in Baku so far, but faced a difficult challenge in her semi-final with German Middleweight (75 kg) Sarah Scheurich.
Their bout was a rematch from the last edition of the EUBC European Women’s Continental Championships, where Fontijn defeated her German rival.
Although Scheurich had plans for avenging that defeat, she could not find the best range against Fontijn, who was stronger and controlled the first round in their semi-final bout.
Fontijn improved even further as the fight progressed, and knocked down her opponent en route to an entertaining victory.
She will now meet Sweden’s Anna Laurell Nash for the gold medal, and will enter that bout with great confidence after she beat the veteran Nordic boxer in the final of the Montana Belts Tournament two months ago.
Team of the day
Ireland enjoyed another successful day in Baku, beginning with yet another success for national boxing icon Katie Taylor.
The 2012 Olympic gold medalist and five-time AIBA Women’s World Champion is in ominous form, and was brilliant in her quarter-final against Sweden’s former AIBA Women’s Junior World Champion Ida Lundblad.
The 28-year-old Lightweight class (60 kg) boxer completely dominated the contest, which gives her at least a guaranteed bronze medal in the Games.
European Union Championships silver medallist Michael O’Reilly continued Ireland’s wonderful day in the Middleweight class (75 kg), as he eliminated Aljaz Venko.
O’Reilly managed to control the contest with wicked hooks and uppercuts, and has secured a final bout against Russia’s Maxim Koptyakov.
Ireland’s third winner on the ninth competition day was Pavlyukov Youth Memorial Tournament winner Brendan Irvine, who performed superbly in his semi-final match against Ukraine’s EUBC European Youth Continental Champion Dmytro Zamotayev.
The 19-year-old Irish Light Flyweight (49 kg) boxer struggled in the opening round, but was able to speed up his rhythm, and demonstrated his wonderful footwork which was a major difference maker in the contest.
Irvine will now face Russia’s Bator Sagaluev for the gold medal.
Surprise of the day
Poland’s EUBC European Women’s Continental Championships silver medallist Sandra Drabik lost to Russia’s rising star Saiana Sagataeva twice in 2014, so was a huge underdog in their semi-final bout in Baku.
Despite her former defeats to the Russian talent, Drabik provided one of her best ever career performances in their semi-final, and reached the Women’s Flyweight (51 kg) final in the process.
Drabik will now fight Britain’s Nicola Adams in the gold medal bout.
One to watch
Croatian Heavyweight (91 kg) Josip Bepo Filipi claimed a silver medal in the Mediterranean Games in Mersin two years ago, and though he was seeded second in Baku, he was not the favourite against Turkey’s two-time Olympian Bahram Muzaffer in their match.
The Turkish boxer took the lead very quickly, yet he was not fresh enough to produce the same level of performance in the later part of the bout, which allowed the young Croatian boxer to secure the victory following a late surge.
Filipi secured Croatia’s lone medal in Baku, and will be fighting in the final with Ukraine’s Gevorg Manukian, who defeated Ireland’s London 2012 Olympian Darren O’Neill.
Fact of the day
60 medals are now guaranteed for the following nations:
Azerbaijan: 11 guaranteed medals
Russia: 10 medals
Germany, Britain, Italy, Ukraine: 5 medals
Ireland, Poland: 4 medals
France: 3 medals
Turkey: 2 medals
Belarus, Croatia, Hungary, Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden: 1 medal
Quote of the day
“It was a great performance. I am just delighted to still be in the competition and boxing for a place in the final. I am not settling for a bronze medal as I always come into these competitions hoping for gold, so I won’t really relax until I have a gold medal around my neck. I have boxed many people in their own backyard plenty of times, so I am going to enjoy my semi-final against Azerbaijan’s Yana Alekseevna, the atmosphere will be fantastic,” said Ireland’s Katie Taylor after her quarter-final contest.
The second part of the semi-finals will be held in the afternoon session of the tenth competition day, while the first five finals are also on the program for Thursday.