Ibañez excels at IBA Champions’ Night Madrid to become IBA Pro European Champion

May 5th, 2024 / IBA

Bulgaria’s Javier Ibañez would have the 57kg IBA Pro European Champion title wrapped around his waist at the Madrid Arena in the capital of Spain, defeating Jose Quiles from the host country at IBA Champions’ Night.
Ibañez was content to be the more direct boxer as the home favorite Quiles took a back stance. The early stages were not dominated by either boxer, but it would be Ibañez in the fifth round who would inflict punishment to the torso of Quiles whose only reply would be some impressive evasive defence, ducking the oncoming punches to create space and respite. The sixth round would see a drop in accuracy as the pair began to tire. Once again, Ibañez would be the busier boxer, landing a brutal body blow in the penultimate round. As Quiles looked down and out, the duo stood their ground and absorbed the punches, with the Spaniard looking rejuvenated as he forced the Bulgarian to come in for a clinch after giving out a body shot of his own. Although his last round would be fruitful, it was not enough to overturn the Bulgarian’s unanimous approval from the judges, after eight rounds.
Spaniard Enmanuel Reyes Pla claimed a hard-earned 92kg victory against Uzbekistan’s Shokhjakhon Abdullaev, having been pushed all the way by his younger opponent. Ten years Abdullaev’s senior, world bronze medallist Reyes Pla was welcomed by the Madrid crowd warmly and would expect to leave the fans happy after six rounds. However, Abdullaev nearly put a pin in that wish as he looked to get the better of Reyes Pla in the middle stage of the bout. Several times he had the 31-year-old and his supporters worried thanks to some hard shots from Abdullaev. An electric sixth round would cap off a superb bout, which saw the Spanish boxer cement his victory, carrying on his momentum from a successful fifth round.
Italian two-time world silver medallist Aziz Abbes Mouhiidine would defeat Ukë Smajli from Switzerland in the 92kg division. The confidence radiated off of Mouhiidine each round, heading into his corner at the sound of the bell raising his glove. Light on his feet, he was able to strike and retreat successfully against Smajli, using the full perimeter of the ring to evade the majority of the Swiss’ offence. A clear winner on the night, the Italian celebrated colorfully after the verdict was announced.
2019 European Games champion Gabriel Escobar from Spain would end the undefeated professional winning streak of Franck Mombey of Gabon at the 54kg. The opening rounds were evenly-matched. Mombey landed single jabs cleanly, but would then face charged flurries from Escobar, who scored several times to the body of his taller foe. Fast and skillful, the match threw up surprise shots and an unpredictable verdict.
Sergio Martinez would get Spain’s first victory of the night, defeating Moldova’s Davron Bozorov in the 71kg bout. Bozorov found himself against the ropes as the first round ended having suffered heavy hits from the young Spaniard who was geed on by the crowd who chanted “Sergio!”. One of his signature moves involved Martinez loading up a left hook to the body of his opponent. Despite Bozorov looking improved in the third, Martinez put the momentum back in his corner. The fifth round saw fortunes change in the trade of a hand, but ended with the Moldovan being saved by the bell after being struck with a body blow.
In the opening fight of the night, in the 51kg weight category, Deepak Bhoria of India would have his arm raised against home favorite Martin Molina. Molina’s strengths lied with the speed of his strikes, while Deepak’s patience on the counter fared him very well. The Indian would steal the spotlight in the third round with some fantastic counter-offence, but Molina was as dominant with combination body punches in the fourth. A close encounter was reflected in the judges’ scorecards as Deepak was given the win on a split decision, signing off the bout with a crisp right cross and a raise of his arms, confident of his victory.