In Day 4 of the AIBA World Boxing Champions, fans enjoyed a thriller between an AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) boxer and a former World Series of Boxing (WSB) boxer in a display of extraordinary class at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Almaty 2013.
It was the turn of the Bantamweights (56kg) and Middleweights (75kg) today, and they certainly didn’t disappoint with some wonderful boxing on display. Let’s take a closer look at what happened.
AIBA’s pioneering development program, “Road to Dream” had a double success today at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Almaty 2013 with two of the project’s boxers winning their preliminary bouts in style.
There were also a few unexpected results with some well-known boxers going home surprisingly early. Let’s review the action as the Bantamweights (56kg) and Middleweights (75kg) continued their efforts this evening.
Bouts of the session
England’s former British Lionhearts team member Gamal Yafai took to the canvas against APB Bantamweight Aram Avagyan of Armenia in the clash of the session. Yafai’s brother Khalid previously fought well in the Baku World Championships in 2011 and narrowly missed out on an Olympic spot following a box-off with Welshman Andrew Selby (who boxes here tomorrow).
Encapsulating everything you would expect from two such world class competitors, the technical level displayed was superb. The darkest recesses of each boxers bag of tricks was mined in a desperate effort to find that little “something extra” that they needed to gain an edge.
The bout was so tight that it was awarded 29:28 by all three judges. Finally it was the Armenian APB boxer who got the green light to advance to the next round after winning one of the best bouts we have witnessed so far in this tournament.
Eduardo Castellon raised the USA supporter’s voices to fever pitch at Bantamweight against Selcuk Eker of Turkey whose own fans responded as the atmosphere in the arena began to intensify. At the opening of the second round, the Turk really came on and was absolutely swinging for the fences in a whirlwind of action that saw the American get caught badly a few times, after which he slowed.
Yet towards the end of the second there were signs that the Turkish fighter was punching himself out through his high octane work rate. He hung in there though, recovering well during the break and doing enough to secure a 3:0 win despite a frantic third round.
Ones to watch
Yoni Pacheco of Venezuela seriously impressed with his surprise win over WSB British Lionhearts veteran Sean McGoldrick of Wales at Bantamweight. The Venezuelan looked very mobile and whilst the WSB boxer was punching well, he couldn’t seem to get his legs going. The classy 22 year old Pacheco deservedly caused an upset with what was in the end a comfortable looking win against extremely tough opposition.
Middleweight Jaemin Jeong from Korea also looks like he is worth keeping an eye on. He is in an incredible shape and looked awesome against Arman Hovhikyan of Armenia, who was clearly handy enough. The Korean is definitely worth following after his split decision win 2:1.
Donchai Thathi of Thailand seems to be another one to keep an eye on. He looked like a machine against Latvia’s Dmitrijs Gutmans. Absolutely nailing him in round two, the Thai athlete forced the Latvian to take a standing eight count after he threw a series of combinations that flowed as flawlessly from one to the other as do the gear changes in a high end Porsche.
He backed off in round three, knowing the bout was already won and showed that his evasion skills are equally silky. He is definitely one to watch.
Quotes of the session
“I don’t like to lose but I’m only 18 so this was a great learning experience for me. Hopefully I’ll see you in Rio” – Hampus Henriksson (Sweden)
“It was a great training camp that we had here in Almaty. It was really important for us to acclimatise before the competition as well” – Juan Donis (Guatemala and Road to Almaty boxer)
“We’ve learnt a lot of stuff from the Road to Dream training camp that we can take home and apply to Guatemalan boxing to help raise the standard. I’m sure this will also have an impact on our results in the future” -Guatemalan national coach
Surprise of the session
Astana Arlans Kazakhstan boxer Konstantin Snigour of Israel, who was ranked 6th in the WSB last season was welcomed to the arena in Almaty with the same warmth afforded to the local national team. The crowd roared when his name was announced against Shinebayar Narmandakh of Mongolia at Middleweight.
Snigour showed none of the apathy towards his opponent that Nicolas of Cuba had, which was probably fortunate all things considered. The Mongolian landed two hard blows in the first round with his right hand, one opening a small cut, to emphasise the fact that this was not going to be a walk in the park for the fan favourite.
The great Israeli boxer continued to struggle against the tall Mongolian who managed to out-point him throughout the three rounds. It was another epic clash, and another one which also saw the surprise early departure of a highly rated WSB boxer.
Fact of the day
On the fan Richter scale for non-local boxers, the Mongolians and Cubans seem to be way out in front for noise and cheering during bouts, with the USA and Hungary following closely behind. Obviously, this fact of the day is based on entirely scientific analysis…
The highly anticipated return of the Flyweights (52kg), Light Welterweights (64kg) and Heavyweights (91kg) where we will be able to watch Italian superstar Clemente Russo, Wales’ Andrew Selby and Erislandy Savon from Cuba. Don’t miss it!