Innovative ‘box-off’ concept proves a hit in Sofia:
For the first time in the history of the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships, nineteen box-off contests were held at the Armeec Arena. This intriguing concept saw six ladies and thirteen male bouts, with the winner of each qualifying for the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics.
Bout of the day
Japan’s High School Selection Tournament winner Subaru Murata began boxing in Osaka in 2008.
The Japanese Light Flyweight class (49 kg) boxer advanced to the quarter-finals in Sofia, where he lost to Kazakhstan’s Shalkar Aikynbay in a narrow contest.
His opponent in the box-offs was Venezuela’s Yoel Segundo Finol, who had a career best tournament in advancing to the last eight in Sofia.
The two boxers shared a great opening round, each using excellent combinations and strength.
Murata was the one who changed gears however, and attacked the second round with great ferocity, producing furiously fast punches on a consistent basis.
The Japanese southpaw boxer attacked until the final bell, resulting in a unanimous decision victory for the 17-year-old.
Team of the day
Great Britain’s only remaining female boxer in Sofia was the EUBC European Women’s Junior Championships gold medallist Crystal Barker, who experienced a surprise loss in the quarter-finals.
To keep her chances of traveling to the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics, she would have to get past Chinese Taipei’s younger Huang Hsiao Wen in their box-off.
It resulted in an enthralling battle with end to end action. Huang tried to keep the distance between them, and used her reach well, but Barker broke through her defense in the second round.
The 17-year-old Asian girl however had the best of the third and final round, and her efficient punches resulted for in a close victory in the box-offs, meaning further disappointment for Barker.
Ireland’s AIBA Junior World Champion, and AIBA Junior Female Boxer of the Year 2013 Ciara Ginty was defeated by Italy’s EU Women’s Youth Championships silver medallist Monica Floridia in Sofia, which was one of the biggest surprises of the quarter-finals.
The 17-year-old Irish Lightweight class (60 kg) hope controlled the first round of her box-off against Chinese Taipei’s Wu Pei Yi.
Ginty faltered in the second round, as her Asian opponent turned up the heat, scoring with some lethal hooks which reached the target.
The third round proved one of the best of the tournament so far. It was a real battle, with Ginty starting well with some fierce uppercuts.
Unfortunately for the highly raited Ginty, Wu was able to turn back the bout, eventually winning the contest and ensuring another memorable day in Sofia for Chinese Taipei.
AIBA Road to Sofia boxer of the day
Cuba’s defending AIBA Junior World Champion Alayn Limonta Boudet was shocked by Japan’s new sensation Go Hosaka in the quarter-finals, which meant he would not medal in Sofia.
His opponent in the box-offs was another great prospect, Mexico’s current AMBC American Youth Continental Champion William Zepeda Segura.
The AIBA Road to Sofia Program member Limonta had a slow start to the contest, but he soon adapted to the speed of the contest.
Zepeda never gave up, and boxed well, but it was Limonta who won the contest by split decision.
Surprise of the day
Hungary’s Youth National Champion and Julius Torma Memorial Tournament winner Richard Toth has had a marvelous tournament in Sofia.
The Light Welterweight class (64 kg) almost defeated Ukraine’s star Viktor Petrov in the quarter-finals, and won his box-off against another top rival, the EUBC European Junior Continental Champion Adem Furkan Avci of Turkey.
Toth doesn’t turn 18 until October, but his power and speed are already there, and his quick combinations resulted in his fourth triumph in Sofia.
Ones to watch
Russia’s EUBC European Junior Continental Champion Ekaterina Paltceva had to fight in the box-off on Tuesday in spite of her excellent previous results.
The 17-year-old Russian Flyweight class (51 kg) boxer fought for the right to fight in the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics against Vietnam’s new sensation Nguyen Than Thuy.
Both boxers are southpaw, which saw a tactically sound battle occur.
Paltceva had a height disadvantage against her Vietnamese opponent, but she boxed clever, with constant counter-attacks and speedy punches en route to victory.
Sweden’s defending AIBA Youth World Champion and former AIBA Junior World Champion Agnes Alexiusson had a surprise loss in the quarter-finals, but she proved her top skills against Hungary’s 17-year-old newcomer Daniella Posta in their box-off.
After a cagey opening round, the more experienced Swedish boxer went on to dominated the contest, ultimately winning with ease.
EUBC European Junior Continental Champion Daniel Asenov of Bulgaria, and AIBA Team’s current ASBC Asian Youth Continental Champion Gaurav Solanki both had to fight in a box-off in Sofia following their losses in the quarter-finals.
Asenov who eliminated a tough Russian boxer in the opening round of competition was able to fight with bigger motivation on home soil on Day 9 than his Indian rival.
The 17-year-old Bulgarian Flyweight class (52 kg) boxer used aggressive tactics, and reduced the fighting distance against Solanki, who improved in the third round to no avail, as the hometown hero secured qualification.
Quote of the day
“I thought it would be strange to fight again after my unsuccessful quarter-final in the championships, but after my first emotions I was happy to get another chance, so I was so excited to fight today. I was pretty nervous before the contest because I knew this is my last chance to qualify to the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics. When I entered the ring these feelings disappeared and I felt myself focused and confident. I am happy that I could win this bout against the Hungarian girl who was strong in the fights,” commented Sweden’s Agnes Alexiusson.
The twenty six semi-final contests will be held in three sessions on Wednesday, which will be the tenth competition day at the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships.