Day seven of the 2013 AIBA World Championships has concluded, marking the first week of the tournament. Check out the results and all of the stories below.
We had an interesting session all round this afternoon with several interesting exchanges taking place as the Lightweights (60kg), Welterweights (69kg) and Light Heavyweights (81kg) went in search of glory.
- Welshman Freddie Evans battled his way through to the next round of the AIBA World Boxing Championships Almaty 2013 today in a battle with Zaal Kvachatadze of Georgia.
- Cuban superstar Arisnoidys Despaigne narrowly scrapped past outstanding Algerian Boxer Llyas Abbadi at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Almaty 2013.
Bouts of the session
Lightweights Dmytro Cherniak of Ukraine and Dmitry Polyanskiy of Russia fought in what proved to be an excellent bout early in the session. Neither fighter was the bouncy sort, both standing firm and looking to trade punches with each other. Who had the edge in this regard seemed to initially change in every exchange, almost as though they were taking it in turns to showcase their prolific combinations. The edge gradually started to go to the Ukrainian and he seemed to land the harder shots. Both athletes embraced at the end in mutual recognition with Cherniak taking the bout 3:0.
Cuba icon Arisnoidys Despaigne faced tough Algerian Llyas Abbadi at Welterweight this evening. Abbadi, who was impressive in his opening bout against Daniel Tapia from Chile, caught our attention again today. The Algerian boxer really made life tough for the Cuban. He boxed extremely aggressively and at a ferocious intensity. The force and effort being put into the bout got the neutral crowd cheering for both athletes in appreciation and the high pace continued through to round two. It was so fast and furious in fact that the pair made their (very competitive) counterparts in the other ring look like they were merely engaged in a light sparring session.
Whilst the Cuban looked like he was landing more blows, it was clearly the Algerian who was trying to force the issue. By the end of round two however, the situation had somewhat reversed with the Algerian burning out slightly and trying to get on his bike with the Cuban in hot pursuit. By the time round three came about, the Cuban’s accuracy rather than Abbadi’s commendable courage was having more of an impact. If Abbadi’s plan was to make the Cuban scrap hard, then in this at least, he succeeded. Sadly for him it was not enough to steal the win and Despaigne took the bout 3:0. The effort did at least earn them the bout of the session and respect of the crowd though.
APB boxer of the session
Freddie Evans of Wales was in the ring today against Zaal Kvachatadze of Georgia. While there was some difficult exchanges in round one for the former British Lionhearts boxer, Freddie got on his bike for round two. The southpaw wasn’t at his best, but was nonetheless able to pick his opponent off on the way in and to make use of the whole ring. He didn’t let his man come anywhere near him for a substantial period. In the final two minutes of the last round, the Georgian came on however, and worked very hard to change the outcome of the bout.
In the end however, it was the APB boxer who went through. “I’m always the same in competition, I’m always a bit rusty on my first fight”, said the Welsh. “I fought him before in the 2011 Europeans so I knew what I had to do. Obviously I’m happy that’s out of the way, so that I can come out sharper for the next one”.
Nikita Ivanov of Russia went toe to toe with Avni Yildirim from Turkey. Both boxers were working from tight guards and then trading blows. The Russian seemed to be much better at that particular game, successfully bobbing and weaving out of trouble when absolutely necessary, but more often than not just relying on his offense to keep his opponent under siege.
With both boxers favouring hooks and uppercuts, this was never going to be a bout that was fought at distance, nor a spectacular crowd pleaser. So like two bulls locking horns, the pair pushed and shoved for position in ugly but effective boxing before unleashing lightning fast shots at point blank range. The APB boxer took the bout comfortably enough in the end, 3:0.
WSB boxer of the session
Lindolfo Delgado of the Mexico Guerreros had a fairly smooth passage to the next round against Andrique Allisop of the Seychelles. The Lightweight knocked his opponent down in the second with a minute remaining. He allowed himself to cruise through the third when it became clear that the Seychelles athlete had gone into survival mode. “He was a complicated rival, but after the shot that knocked him down he didn’t want to attack any more. My coach told me to wait for him at that point so that’s what I did”, said the Mexican.
Elsewhere, the bout between WSB Mexico Guerreros boxer Vazgen Safaryants of Belarus and Baku Fires star Elvin Isayev of Azerbaijan was excellent at Lightweight, with both boxers working incredibly hard. In the end, the Azeri out-gunned his rival for an outstanding result.
Robert Harutyunyan of the German Eagles was in action this evening against another WSB boxer Mohamed Ouadahifrom the Algeria Desert Hawks. In a tough match-up for both athletes, this one was another contender for the bout of the session.The German was his usual tenacious self and really pressurised his opponent once he gets in close. The Algerian however is a highly capable boxer and can strike from any angle, including while on the retreat or moving laterally. Consequently, this became a very interesting stylistic match up, with Harutyunyan trying to close without being caught by Ouadahi’s unexpected shots. In the end it was the German Eagles boxer who won this tactical battle and the bout itself, 3:0.
Road to Almaty boxer of the session
Rayton Okwiri of Kenya faced Erkinbek Bolotbek Uulu of Kyrgyzstan at Welterweight. He has a very calm and composed style and patiently covered up letting the opponent work before timing his own action. When his coach shouting at him to “work” with thirty seconds left in round two, he was able to respond very impressively. He looked more than capable in the ring and really managed the bout. In the third round he again exploded with a minute to go and it was clear that his opponent was unable to keep pace.
The Kenyan took a good victory. “I thought he did an excellent job”, said Road to Almaty assistant coach Christy Halbert. “He did everything a good boxer is supposed to do. He kept his composure and his distance was nice, especially when his opponent got tired, so I was very pleased”.
Ali Ghoussoun, the Road to Almaty boxer from Syria took WSB veteran Hrvoje Sep of Croatia out of the competition by the slightest of margins at Light Heavyweight. The WSB star was looking to close the gap and box on the inside, whilst the Syrian was trying to keep him at bay.
The bout was very close, a fact which in itself stunned the arena. The Croatian couldn’t seem to get into his grove and from time to time he looked a little out of sorts. The bout became quite ugly, with Sep unable to find form. This only played into the Syrian’s hands. Desperate to keep the bout at close quarters, Sep was warned for holding. This proved to be a pivotal point in the match. When it came to the decision, the judges awarded the bout to Ghoussoun 2:1 and thus the biggest surprise win of the day went to our (by default) Road to Almaty boxer of the session.
Ones to watch
Sean McComb may not have had the most demanding opponent in Gildas Bangana of the Central African Republic at Lightweight, but the Irishman looked very good today. He is quite tall for the category giving him useful reach, but remains well co-ordinated. He also has fast hands and really good footwork.
This makes for a good combination and his work rate was excellent as well. A comfortable 3:0 win for the Celtic boxer. “I tried to stay in my comfort zone today as I didn’t want to show my next opponent too much”, said the Belfast man. “That’s my third contest without a head guard. I’m finding it brilliant actually. I feel looser in there. I have better head movement and much more vision”.
Lightweight Luis Diaz of Venezuela is proving to be quite a boxer. Picked up by the media section and awarded bout of the session the last time he graced the canvas in these Championships, he made a similarly good impression on this occasion. He has beautiful form and excellent timing. During his bout with Elian Dimitrov of Bulgaria, he took the centre of the ring and seemed almost untouchable with the snake like movement of his head being too hard to predict.
He stands with a low lead hand for much of the time, inviting the opponent in and then finding the openings presented to him. He took another nice win today. “I thank god for the victory”, said the Venezuelan. “I just have to take this one step at a time but it’s another win on the board”. When asked to describe his style he said: “what I like to do is to box on the outside. It gives me more chance to watch the opponent, and it is more technical as well”.
Quotes of the session
“Rayton [Okwiri] is a very smart boxer and he has the fitness level to be able to put together any kind of strategy or tactics that are needed” – Christy Halbert (USA), Road to Almaty assistant coach
“I thought he had an excellent start. I thought he did well not to let his opponent in at all to begin with, though as he got more tired this happened more frequently. Overall he did very well” – Christy Halbert (USA) Road to Almaty assistant coach on Ali Ghoussoun’s win
Fact/Stat of the session
Roberto de Queiroz from Brazil made his debut performance in a World Championships against Simeon Chamov of Bulgaria at Welterweight. The Carioca who grew up in the Complexo da Maré favela in Rio de Janeiro, lost his father at a young age to gun violence. Boxing has proven to be a way out for him. The orthodox boxer looked very sharp in the ring and worked his jabs well in the first round. He got a cut and also took a standing eight count in the final round, but he battled hard against tough opposition. Clearly a prospect for the future, he was a credit to himself, his team, and the club that nurtured him.
We see the return of the Light Flyweights (49kg), Bantamweights (56kg) Light Welterweights (64kg) Middleweights (75kg) and Heavyweights (91kg) as they complete their preliminary rounds.