THE largest boxing tournament to be held during the current pandemic, the AIBA World Youth championships was completed in Kielce, Poland on Friday (April 23).
India has so often been regarded as a sleeping giant in the sport, given it’s vast potential resources. That sleeping giant might just be waking up. India finished the World Youth championships with an astonishing eight gold medallists. Seven of those were in the women’s divisions, an indication that the generation inspired by the feats of Olympic medallist Mary Kom might be coming of age. It meant India won every one of their eight finals in Poland, an extraordinary result.
India’s Vinka won the lightweight final by stopping Kazakhstan’s Zhuldyz Shayakhmetova. “This is one of the happiest moments in my life,” she declared. “I tried to make a clear difference in this final match. The Kazakh boxer was stronger in the first round but after that I did my very best in this final round.”
These will boxers to look out for at the 2024 Olympic Games. “When I started boxing in 2016, my target was very clear, I am doing everything to be at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games,” said India’s Arundhati Choudhary who beat the host nation’s Barbara Marcinkowska in the welterweight final. “Kielce is one of my obstacles on that road and I am so excited that I was able win the gold medal in the AIBA Youth World boxing championships.”
Japan could have unearthed a star for the future. Lightweight Reito Tsutsumi impressed on his way to the 60kgs final. Against Kazakhstan’s Yelnur Suyunbay he closed down the space between them, using his speed to take a points decision win. “It was the most difficult contest of my life, but I was able to succeed against the tall Kazakh boxer, and I accomplished my target with this gold medal in Kielce,” Tsutsumi said.
Another brilliant performer was Cuban heavyweight Jorge Felimon. He was quiet in the first round of his final against Poland’s Jakub Straszewski. Felimon turned it up a gear in the second round, hurting the Pole to the body before blasting shots into the head. Felimon handed him count after count, but Straszewski hung on to lose a unanimous decision.
“I boxed from my heart, from the very first seconds of this final, and I believed that I can make it,” Felimon said. “I am the champion and this is a fantastic feeling.”
Uzbekistan is not short of towering super-heavyweights. Their team has another coming through in Jakhongir Zokirov who blitzed Armenia’s Hovhannes Papazyan to stop him in the third round of their 91&kgs final.
A severe injury hung over the competition when Jordanian boxer Rashed Al Swaisat collapsed after his bout on April 16. “AIBA’s first thoughts are with Rashed Al-Swaisat, his family and his teammates. We will continue to do all that we can to support them,” AIBA president Umar Kremlev said, speaking for the Board of Directors that met in Poland.
England had been unable to send a team to this event. 52 countries from all round the world did enter a total of 414 boxers in this competition.
Female: 48: Gitika (India) outpd Natalia Kuczewska (Poland) unan. 51: Naorem Babyrojisana Chanu (India) outpd Valeriia Linkova (Russia) unan. 54: Nigina Uktamova (Uzbekistan) outpd Khrystyna Lakiichuk (Ukraine) split. 57: Poonam (India) outpd Sthelyne Grosy (France) unan. 60: Vinka (India) stpd Zhuldyz Shayakhmetova (Kazakhstan) 3rd. 64: Azalia Amineva (Russia) outpd Mokhinabonu Abdullaeva (Uzbekistan) unan. 69: Arundhati Choudhary (India) outpd Barbara Marcinkowska (Poland) unan. 75: Sanamacha Thokchom Chanu (India) outpd Dana Diday (Kazakhstan) split. 81: Busra Isildar (Turkey) outpd Ksenia Olifirenko (Russia) unan. 81&: Alfiya Pathan (India) outpd Daria Kozorez (Moldova) unan.
Male: 49: Sanzhar Tashkenbay (Kazakhstan) outpd Robert Badalian (Russia) split. 52: Shakhzod Muzafarov (Uzbekistan) outpd Evgenii Zhorov (Russia) split. 56: Sachin (India) outpd Yerbolat Sabyr (Kazakhstan) split. 60: Reito Tsutsumi (Japan) outpd Yelnur Suyunbay (Kazakhstan) split. 64: Sabirzhan Akkalykov (Kazakhstan) outpd Bozorbo Matyakubov (Ukraine) unan. 69: Yurii Zakharieiev (Ukraine) outpd Chezrav Ashalaev (Russia) split. 75: Mikhail Usov (Russia) outpd Ilya Tohobytskyi (Ukraine) unan. 81: Vasiliy Kaverin (Russia) outpd Petar Lijesevic (Montenegro) split. 91: Jorge Felimon (Cuba) outpd Jakub Straszewski (Poland) unan. 91&: Jakhongir Zokirov (Uzbekistan) stpd Hovhannes Papazyan (Armenia) 3rd.