Thursday saw the first action from the 2016 AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in Saint Petersburg, where 351 boxers from 63 countries will be competing for the medals from 17-26 November. The day saw preliminary bouts at the Light Flyweight (49kg), Bantamweight (56kg) and Super Heavyweight (+91kg) divisions in the famous Sibur Arena, where athletes from Afghanistan, Australia, Mexico and Morocco were among the victors.
Mexico’s current AMBC American Confederation Youth Champion Gustavo Antonio Perez began his campaign in style against South Korea’s Seongchan Baek. The 18-year-old Mexican Light Flyweight successfully reduced the fighting distance from the first bell against the tall Asian, who was counted in the third round as Perez put the result beyond any doubt.
German southpaw Andreas Jager overcame Arab Youth Champion Ismail Boudrar at Bantamweight (56kg), before Afghanistan’s Youth National Champion, 18-year-old Aqluddin Nezami, out-boxed Algeria’s Adel Tabi to record only his nation’s second-ever triumph in the history of the Championships.
AIBA Junior World Champion Nikita Piskunov is one of the leading lights of a talented Russian team, and the 17-year-old bantamweight had to be at his best to defeat Belarus’ Dzmitry Dziashkevich. The Russian southpaw worked from longer distance and his potent counter-attacks proved too good for Dziashkevich. England’s Charles Frankham had won all 40 of his career bouts going in to the tournament, and that run continued in Saint Petersburg as he again showed his potential with a unanimous win over Slovakia’s Filip Meszaros.
At super heavyweight (+91kg) the United States’ Richard Torrez was able to stop his Colombian opponent Junior Albeiro Gonzalez before the final bell, and Azerbaijan’s AIBA Junior World Champion Mahammad Abdullayev defeated Lithuanian rival Marek Korolkov in a typically powerful display. One of the most eagerly anticipated bouts at super heavyweight then saw Australia’s four-time National Champion Justis Huni take on Uzbekistan’s Alisher Dustov. The Australian boxer had a 20cm height advantage over his Central Asian rival but Huni had to work hard to stay in the bout, eventually taking advantage of a tiring Dustov to set up a last-sixteen showdown with Armenia’s Gurgen Hovhannisyan.