Georgia and Spain are the most successful nations after the semi-finals at the EUBC European Men’s Boxing Championships

May 29th, 2022 / EUBC

Boxers from 12 nations advanced to the finals at the EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships in Yerevan, Armenia. Georgia and Spain are the best countries after the semi-finals, both nations have four finalists at the Championships.

The top seeds advanced to the final of the minimumweight

Seven Italians advanced to the semi-finals at the EUBC European Men’s Boxing Championships and among them, Leonardo Esposito was the first in action on the sixth day of boxing. Esposito used his impressive footwork to eliminate his quarter-final opponent and he planned to perform in the same style against Bulgaria’s Ergyunal Sebahtin Sabri who earned several medals in the youth and U22 age groups. The more experienced Bulgarian analyzed the rival before the bout, and he had good counter-attacks in the first round. The 21-year-old Sabri kept the tempo better today and he had the best strategy against the quick Italian to win their fight which means he can box for the gold medal with Georgia’s Sakhil Alakhverdovi.

“I spent a lot of time in competitions and training camps this year, and that made me confident today. I felt the rhythm and I enjoyed this semi-final. One more challenge left to win the whole Championships,” said Ergyunal Sebahtin Sabri.

Dylan Eagleson is the youngest finalist

Bulgaria’s Daniel Asenov won the 2015 and 2017 EUBC European Boxing Championships and he claimed a silver medal at the 2019 European Games. Asenov participates in the bantamweight (54kg) at this competition. He tried to use his strong game plan against Ireland’s 19-year-old southpaw, Dylan Eagleson. The Irish boxer was patient in the first round and he had the effective counter-punches to take a lead after three minutes of the fight. Eagleson was a medalist at the EUBC U22 European Boxing Championships this March, and he developed rapidly. He was able to take control in his semi-final bout against such a successful boxer as Asenov. Eagleson exceeded all of the expectations and eliminated one of the top boxers of the weight category and will now meet for the title with two-time World Championships bronze medallist from France, Billal Bennama.

“I have never expected that I will be a finalist at the European Boxing Championships. I had to keep the distance and I felt after the first round, that our tactics works well. My coaches supported me during the break to continue in the same way. I don’t expect anything against my French final opponent but I will do my best,” said Eagleson.

Gomtsyan is Georgia’s second finalist in Yerevan

Georgia’s Artyush Gomtsyan joined the elite national team in 2018 and he attended all of the major championships in the previous four years. The Armenian-descent boxer felt the support of the crowd in Yerevan during his semi-final against Hungary’s tall Roland Veres who switched from kickboxing. The smaller Georgian started the first round with powerful punches and finished with a tough right-handed hook to take the lead on the scorecards. The Hungarian is still a newcomer at the international events, however, he had a good strategy against the Georgian, who, nevertheless, reduced the fighting distance successfully. The 24-year-old Georgian received a few punches from Veres at the beginning of the last round but he landed stronger shots in the third to win their semi-final. Gomtsyan will now meet for the title with Spain’s Jose Quiles, who eliminated a former champion, Yurii Shestak of Ukraine.

Abbasov vs. Guruli for the title of the welterweight

Vakhid Abbasov achieved a silver medal at the 2019 Russian National Championships and later the EUBC European U22 Champion decided to switch to Serbia. The welterweight (67kg) boxer is smaller than many of his opponents but he has a specific counter-attacking style which he proved against Moldova’s lone semi-finalist, Alexandru Paraschiv. Abbasov was more experienced than Paraschiv and he landed punches from all possible angles in their semi-final. The younger Moldovan moved forward and delivered his best performance but Abbasov managed to win this bout which means he can test himself in the final against Georgia’s Seed No.1, Lasha Guruli.

England vs. Ireland are to fight in the middleweight

England had five quarter-finalists at these Championships, and all of them won their semi-finals and the guaranteed medals. Their middleweight (75kg) No.1, Lewis Richardson had to meet a strong neighbor, Samuel Hickey of Scotland in the last four. Four out of the five judges favoured Richardson in the first round and the English boxer made another strong round. Richardson looked confident and he used the mistakes of the 22-year-old Scottish boxer to build up a massive advantage on the scorecards. Richardson controlled their semi-final and Ireland’s new sensation, Gabriel Dossen will be his final opponent. The 23-year-old Irish eliminated the Seed No.1 Italian, Salvatore Cavallaro with perfect strategy.

“I could eliminate seeded boxers at these Championships and now I won a strong Scottish talent. This is a fantastic feeling that I am in the final and defeated such experienced boxers in Yerevan. I fell physically well, strong in mind, absolutely in good shape, and I am ready for the final,” said England’s Lewis Richardson.

Georgiy Kushitashvili dominated his semi-final

Georgiy Kushitashvili represented Russia at the Ekaterinburg 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championships where he reached the quarter-final. Following that he decided to return to his roots in Georgia and made his debut with an impressive success at the international tournament. The Georgian cruiserweight (86kg) boxer dominated all of his previous contests in Yerevan, he started the first round against Romania’s EUBC European U22 Champion Paul Andrei Aradoaie well. The Croatian referee counted the Romanian boxer in the first and second rounds which guaranteed Kushitashvili’s strong advantage after six minutes. The Georgian was quicker than his opponent and his dominance meant that Kushitashvili will be meeting for the title with Armenia’s Rafayel Hovhannisyan.

Germany’s Nelvie Tiafack is a finalist in the super heavyweight

Germany’s Nelvie Tiafack had his first achievement, a bronze medal at the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in 2016. The German super heavyweight (+92kg) boxer faced a new English sensation, Delicious Orie who won all of his preparation tournaments this year. The German was stronger in the exchanges during the first round and he could manage the tactical challenges. The English boxer moved ahead more in the second round but Tiafack was quicker and landed enough hooks to take the middle period too. Lukas Wilaschek’s boxer worked well enough in this semi-final and acquired Germany’s first final place in Yerevan. His last opponent at these Championships will be Spain’s athletic boxer, Ayoub Ghadfa Drissi El-Aissaoui.

“It was a tough contest today, I had to be attentive against my English rival and do my best. I know my final opponent from Spain, I beat him once but he has improved since our last meeting,” said Tiafack.

MacDonald is England’s second finalist in Yerevan

England’s Kiaran MacDonald and Italy’s Federico Serra both have excellent technical skills and speed in the flyweight (51kg). The Italian was better in the exchanges at the beginning, and he had the excellent jabs to win the first round. MacDonald, who replaced the previous star, Galal Yafai in the national team, changed his tempo in the second round and he returned his chances for success. The decisive third round was successful for the English boxer who landed better punches and his final three minutes guaranteed his place in the title bout. MacDonald overturned the bout with great enthusiasm and will be boxing for the gold medal with Spain’s Martin Molina.

“This is my first major elite championships and I am a finalist! I am really satisfied. I started slowly today so I had to change many things in the beginning of the second round to win this semi-final. I am still fresh and ready for the final against the Spanish rival with whom I met previously,” said MacDonald.

France’s Lounes Hamraoui defeated his Spanish opponent for the third time this month

France sent only five boxers to the EUBC European Men’s Boxing Championships and among them, two advanced to the semi-finals. Following Billal Bennama’s success on Day 6, their second semi-finalist was Lounes Hamraoui in the light welterweight (63.5kg). The French southpaw defeated Spain’s Adrian Thiam in a dual match three weeks ago and the two boxers met each other once again. Both boxers were born in 1998 and developed rapidly in the previous two years; their semi-final was one of the exciting ones in Yerevan. Hamraoui used his counter-attacking style while Thiam moved forward. The French boxer’s strategy was slightly better today. Hamraoui will now meet for the gold medal with the titleholder, Armenia’s Hovhannes Bachkov who dominated his semi-final today.

“This was my third contest against the Spanish boxer this month and it was not so easy to fight against him today. I was confident during the whole Championships, this is the first time when I advanced to the final of a major event,” said Hamraoui.

Zakharieiev lost his semi-final in the bout of the day

Ukraine’s Yuriy Zakharieiev is the first boxer in history who won the AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships and the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in the same year. The Ukrainian light middleweight (71kg) boxer caught his English rival, Mohammed Harris Akbar with tough shots at the end of the first round. U22 medallist Akbar landed better punches in the second round and showed a strong performance as the 20-year-old Ukrainian star. Zakharieiev felt that he needs to work more in the third round but the English boxer delivered the main sensation of the day with his success and timely counter-attacks. Zakharieiev won all of his previous five major championships but this time he can bring back home only a bronze while Akbar can fight for the title with Wales’ 21-year-old Garan Croft.

Spain’s Emmanuel Reyes is to meet with Mouhiidine once again

Spain’s Emmanuel Reyes is one of the top seeds in the heavyweight (92kg) who achieved a bronze medal at the Belgrade 2021 AIBA World Boxing Championships. The experienced ex-Cuban faced Armenia’s Narek Manasyan in the last bout of the semi-finals and tried to use his longer reach in the first round. The Armenian felt the tempo and he was quick enough to land punches from a closer distance taking the lead on the scorecards after three minutes. Reyes showed better performance in the second and third rounds and he was able to overturn the semi-final which means he can box against Italy’s Aziz Abbes Mouhiidine once again.