The second competition day of the Baku 2015 European Games was held today in the capital city of Azerbaijan, with twenty-one bouts taking place across two sessions.
Boxers from the Bantamweight (56 kg), Lightweight (60 kg), Light Welterweight (64 kg), Welterweight (69 kg), Middleweight (75 kg) and Light Heavyweight (81 kg) classes were all in action, where the winners of the spectacular preliminary bouts advanced through to the last 16 in the Games to keep their medal chances alive.
Bout of the day
Ukraine’s Viktor Petrov achieved an excellent silver medal in the last edition of the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships, and following his great junior and youth career, he received the right to box for his nation in the Baku 2015 European Games.
Petrov’s opening opponent was the talented Bulgarian Airin Ismetov who has won two tournaments over the past year, but despite his superior experience, Ismetov could not deal with the constant pressure of his Ukrainian rival who impressed throughout the contest.
After a superb and complete performance, the 19-year-old Petrov will now meet Armenia’s Hovhannes Bachkov in the last 16 of the Light Welterweight (64 kg) division.
Team of the day
The French delegation arrived in Baku with an outstanding squad, and they lived up to their potential on Day 2 of the Games with two winning results.
Boxam Tournament winner Hassan Amzile began the success for France as he used his height advantage well against Kosovan Light Welterweight (64 kg) Nasser Shala.
The unanimous decision victory kept alive Amzile’s undefeated record in 2015, and he will hope to continue that streak in this competition.
French Light Heavyweight (81 kg) sensation Souliman Abdourachidov then eliminated Belarus’ EUBC European Continental Championships bronze medallist Siarhei Novikau after an engaging and difficult bout for both boxers.
Abdourachidov is also undefeated this year, and puts that record on the line in his next bout against Bosnia & Herzegovina’s AIBA Pro Boxing star Dzemal Bosnjak, who eliminated Greece’s Polyneikis Kalamaras.
Surprise of the day
Uke Smajli won the Switzerland National Championships despite his lack of experience, and the lone Swiss boxer in Baku kept his good form going with a surprise victory over Romania’s tough and rugged Alexandru Machedon.
Smajli used power punches to keep his Romania opponent at bay in the opening round, and then began to use his jab effectively in the following rounds.
The 22-year-old will have to produce another major shock if he is to progress further in this competition however, as he will next face Italy’s Valentino Manfredonia, who has already qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games following his great performance in the World Series of Boxing.
Ones to watch
Youba Ndiaye Sissokho was born in Senegal, but has been fighting for Spain since 2011, and the 24-year-old Welterweight (69 kg) operated at a higher level than Latvia’s Mihails Pavlovs in today’s match, which advanced him through to the next preliminary round.
Sissokho used his height advantage as a weapon, and kept the distance consistently against the attacking Latvian boxer.
His next opponent will be Russia’s defending EUBC European Continental Champion Aleksandr Besputin in the last 16.
Bulgaria’s Radoslav Pantaleev won the test event of the Baku 2015 European Games, and his early understanding of the Baku conditions helped the 22-year-old Bulgarian Light Heavyweight (81 kg) to defeat Georgia’s Liventsev Memorial Tournament winner Nikoloz Sekhniashvili.
After a shaky first round, Pantaleev ramped up the pressure, and tired out his Georgian opponent with shots from all angles.
The in-form Bulgarian will next meet Ukraine’s AIBA Youth World Champion Oleksandr Khyzniak.
Fact of the day
Russia’s Maksim Dadashev won his opening bout at the Light Welterweight (64 kg) to ensure his country remains undefeated in Baku so far after four matches.
Britain, France, Turkey, Italy and Sweden have also yet to lose any bouts in the European Games.
Quote of the day
“It was a good opening fight against the Latvian boxer, and I am feeling really great, but I know I can do even better next time. I was born in Senegal, but I am so proud to represent my new homeland in a big tournament like the Baku 2015 European Games. I hope Allah will help me also in my next bout, as Allah is always with me when I fight,” said Spain’s Youba Ndiaye Sissokho after his first victory at Welterweight (69 kg).
“My tactic was to get a good start, stay relaxed and use my footwork to beat my opponent, but I must admit, I am not totally satisfied with my performance because I was too static sometimes and let him catch met to the body. I felt good, but I need a better performance against Italy’s Valentino Manfredonia because I am planning to shock everyone here in Baku,” commented Switzerland’s new sensation Uke Smajli after his surprise triumph.
The third competition day will deliver 17 bouts in the preliminary round of the Men’s Lightweight (60 kg), Men’s Light Welterweight (64 kg), Men’s Middleweight (75 kg), Men’s Light Heavyweight (81 kg) and Men’s Heavyweight (91 kg) classes.
Gold medal favourites such as France’s Christian M’Billi Assomo (75 kg) will start their hopeful road to the top, while Azerbaijan’s Teymur Mammadov (81 kg) will become the host nation’s first boxer to fight in the boxing competition of the Baku 2015 European Games.