The recent AIBA World Boxing Championships 2015 in Doha was the eighteenth edition of the event, and the first to see boxers having to qualify from their respective Confederation’s Boxing Championships. In all, 243 of the 733 who started down the road to Qatar made it to the World Championships, and among them were a crop of young stars destined to set the world of AIBA boxing alight over the coming decade.
The youngest gold medallist at the championships was Cuban Domadores’ revelation Joahnys Oscar Argilagos Perez. At only 18 years-old, he was unflappable on his way to the light flyweight final, where the WSB star eventually beat Vasilii Egorov of Russia to take the the gold medal and cap a remarkable year.
Another teenage sensation, Bektemir Melikuziev of Uzbekistan, made it through a tough draw to earn a shot at the middleweight title on finals night. At just 19 years old, it took Cuba’s powerful PanAmerican Games champion, Arlen Lopez, to stop him, but Melikuziev’s silver medal is a sign there will be much more to come from the young prospect.
Elsewhere among the medals in Doha was Dzmitry Asanau, the 19 year-old from Belarus who, in his first year at the elite level, won both the bantamweight bronze and his box-off against Shiva Thapa for a place at Rio 2016. Among Uzbekistan’s exciting crop of youngsters to appear were Murodjon Akhmadaliev, Elnur Abduraimov and Bakhodir Jalolov, all medalists in Doha, all born in 1994.
Indeed, at just 26, Julio Cesar La Cruz was the oldest gold medalist in Doha, and the average age of all ten gold medalists was just 23 years old, setting AIBA World Boxing up for an exciting future and what will no doubt be a dramatic Olympic season in 2016.