Emotional and historical triumphs for Algeria, Lithuania and Mozambique in Istanbul 2022
May 16th, 2022 / Istanbul 2022
One of the most anticipated parts of the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships, the quarter-finals are underway in Istanbul, and the first 24 bouts featured in the event during the afternoon session. Lithuania, Algeria and Mozambique earned their first-ever medals in the history of the Women’s World Boxing Championships becoming the 48th, 49th and 50th medallist countries in the all-time standings.
The winners in the minimumweight (48kg), flyweight (52kg), featherweight (57kg), light welterweight (63kg), light middleweight (70kg) and light heavyweight (81kg) are medallists in Istanbul.
Bulgaria’s Sevda Asenova succeeded at the age of 37
Ukraine’s Hanna Okhota achieved a silver medal at the 2018 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in New Delhi and returned to the minimumweight (48kg). Okhota won two relatively easier contests in Istanbul but she could expect a hard battle against Bulgaria’s veteran Sevda Asenova. The EUBC European Champion Bulgarian used her speed well in the recent two contests and she followed her own gameplay in their quarter-final. Asenova is 37-year-old but she had the huge motivation to earn her first-ever medal at the Women’s World Boxing Championships. After so many years, the experienced Bulgarian finally succeeded and claimed a medal in Istanbul. Turkey’s Ayse Cagirir won another medal in this weight class, after beating England’s Demie-Jade Resztan in the first contest of Ring A.
“My coaches are amazing, they supported me so much to earn my first medal at the World Championships. I knew that I could win this quarter-final with my technical skills and I believe they made the difference,” said Asenova.
Argentina earned its first medal at the event since 2006
Venezuela sent strong boxers to the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships and it was hard to beat them. Their last remaining boxer was Tayonis Cedeno who showed brilliant performance in the recent two preliminary stages and she started aggressively against Argentina’s Aldana Florencia Lopez. The Argentinean worked from a long distance in the first round and her counter-punches were dangerous for Cedeno. Lopez secured the advantage in all of the five judges’ scorecards after three minutes and she was also a hard target for the Venezuelan in the second. Lopez won the AMBC American Boxing Championships a few weeks ago and became the first Argentinian medalist at the Women’s World Boxing Championships since 2006 when Jessica Bopp and Anabella Farias both took silver in New Delhi.
“I worked hard my whole life to achieve something at the boxing events. I had to work hard today but I was able to keep my concentration until the very last seconds,” added Lopez.
Thailand’s Jutamas Jitpong made revenge in a unique re-match
Uzbekistan began to develop its women’s boxing in 2013 and the country reached its first strong achievement in 2017 when Guzal Ismatova achieved a gold medal at the ASBC Asian Women’s Boxing Championships. Since Mr. Elshod Rasulov joined their squad as a head coach, the Uzbek girls reached the level of the top countries. Five of their female boxers advanced to the quarter-finals in Istanbul and they are aiming for their first-ever medal in the event’s history. Tursunoy Rakhimova was the first of them who had a Thai opponent, Jutamas Jitpong in the quarter-finals of the flyweight (52kg). Rakhimova won their last meeting in Amman two years ago but Jitpong was quicker this time and took the lead on the scorecards after one round. Rakhimova increased her tempo at the beginning of the second round but Jitpong’s counter-punches were effective enough to win a medal for Thailand.
“I lost to my Uzbek opponent last time, therefore, I was planning to show that my skills are upgraded. This is my career highlight, I am so grateful to my coaches, the Federation and all of the Thai people who supported me,” commented Jitpong.
Irma Testa won her first medal at the Women’s World Championships
Italy’s Irma Testa is the defending EUBC European Champion and she won almost all of her contests in the recent three years but she has never earned any medals at the Women’s World Boxing Championships yet. She met in the key quarter-final with Sitora Turdibekova who claimed a gold medal at the ASBC Asian Boxing Championships one year ago. The 20-year-old Uzbek girl used an aggressive style of boxing from the first seconds to catch the quick Italian but this was not an easy task for her. Testa impressed in the third round, she had the energy to keep her Uzbek rival on long distance.
“This is my first medal at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships and I accomplished my minimum goal in Istanbul. Now I am ready for the gold medal and luckily we will have a rest day in the competition. My Uzbek opponent was strong but my experience from the past was enough to bear her,” added Testa.
Algeria’s historical medallist is Imane Khelif
Algeria’s All Africa Games gold medalist Imane Khelif won all of the important international contests during her preparation for the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. The Algerian southpaw controlled the first round from a longer range and she had the advantage against Greece’s Olga Papadatou after three minutes. The Greek boxer had to spend time in the medical corner during the middle of the second round but she was able to continue the contest. Khelif played with her Greek opponent in the third round, she looked highly confident and amazed all of the experts in the venue once again. Khelif moved up to the light welterweight (63kg) this year and her change delivered Algeria’s first-ever medal in the history of the event.
“I was nervous before the contest but during the bout I relaxed and I did my best to win this historical medal for Algeria. I am fit, fresh and ready to take the gold medal of the entire Championships,” said Khelif.
Alcinda Panguane is Mozambique’s historical medalist
Mozambique sent two boxers to the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships and both advanced to the quarter-finals. The All Africa Games silver medalist Alcinda Panguane impressed in the previous rounds but she could expect a hard one against Fair Chance Team’s Cindy Ngamba who trains in the United Kingdom. Panguane moved back a few steps before launching her counter-punches and she looked smart in the first round in their light middleweight (70kg) quarter-final. Ngamba, who has roots in Cameroon, put some pressure in the second round and slowed down the boxer from Mozambique and the final verdict depended on their performance in the third. Panguane had the stamina in the last round to win their tight contest and earned a historical medal for Mozambique.
“I can’t find words for this triumph, and I hope I made my whole country proud today,” added Panguane after her emotional success.
Lithuania is the 50th nation that earned a medal in the Women’s World Championships
Lithuania’s Gabriele Stonkute achieved several medals in the youth and U22 age groups but she joined their elite team only two years ago. The Lithuanian light heavyweight (81kg) boxer is not only the best female boxer in their country but she inspires others, too. The young Lithuanian was nervous in the first round against Kazakhstan’s Gulsaya Yerzhan but their coaches calmed her down in time to change her tempo. Stonkute made a brilliant comeback in the contest and from the second her strategy worked well enough to win a historical medal for Lithuania.