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With no bouts scheduled on Day 8 of the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in Saint Petersburg, there was time for reflection for those no longer in the competition and focussed preparation for the 40 boxers still dreaming of gold. Teams from 19 countries are now through to Friday’s Semi-Finals, with Cuba, Kazakhstan, USA and Uzbekistan leading the charge with four boxers apiece now confirmed of at least a bronze.

The Philippines’ strong tradition at Light Flyweight (49kg) has continued with Carlo Paalam, who will go up against India’s Sachin Singh for a place in Saturday’s final. Japan’s Asian Youth Champion Hayato Tsutsumi and the powerful Uzbek Otabek Kholmatov face-off at Flyweight (52kg), and then all eyes will be on the Bantamweight (56kg) semi between USA’s Junior World Champion Marc Castro and Kholmatov’s teammate Shunkor Abdurasulov.

Necat Ekinci is the surprise package at Lightweight (60kg), one of two Turkish boxers through to the Semi-Finals, while Ireland’s Gabriel Dossen has been in superb form at Light Welterweight (64kg), and avoids the equally impressive Belarusian Pavel Mikhailiuk in the Semi-Final draw. The Welterweight (69kg) evening-session encounter between Venzuela’s Melbyn Martinez and Ukrainian Pavlo Gula could be a classic between two very different styles, and William Hutchison will be determined to land a precious gold for Scotland as he goes up against another Irishman, Michael Nevin, at Middleweight (75kg).

At Light Heavyweight (81kg), Kazakhstan’s Bekzad Nurdauletov has looked in sparkling form so far in Saint Petersburg, while Cuban Heavyweight (91kg) Dainier Pero continues to show the relaxed brilliance that brought him gold in the Juniors here last year. India’s Naman Tanwar now stands between him and a place in the Final against Russia’s Vladimir Uzunian or Uzbekistan’s Shokhruz Rakhimov. The Super Heavyweights (+91kg) will close out Friday’s Semi-Finals, with USA’s Richard Torres and Australian Justis Huni battling for a shot at the gold against the winner of Georgian Giorgi Tchigladze and Germany’s Nelvie Hess.

Saturday’s afternoon session begins at 2 pm local time and will be streamed live on AIBA.org