Ones to watch ahead of the 2017 AIBA World Boxing Championships

August 23rd, 2017 / IBA

With the draw for the Hamburg 2017 AIBA World Boxing Championships set to take place on 24 August and competition getting underway the following day, we take a look at some of the boxers going for glory in each of the ten weight categories.

Uzbekistan’s Hasanboy Dusmatov won both the gold medal and the Val Barker Trophy for best boxer at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and, after another excellent WSB season with the Uzbek Tigers, looks like once more being the man to beat in Hamburg at Light Flyweight. Colombia’s Yuberjen Martinez has also enjoyed a successful 2017 following his silver in Rio, and will be a serious contender alongside the likes of Cuba’s flamboyant Johanys Argilagos, Russia’s Vasilii Egorov, Philippines’ Rogen Ladon, Spain’s Samuel Carmona and Indian newcomer Amit Panghai. Ecuador’s double Olympian Carlos Quipo and England’s Galal Yafai are also ready to push all the way for a podium spot.

The Flyweight category in Hamburg looks wide open with Cuba’s Yosbany Veitia, silver medallist in Doha two years ago, hoping to go one better this year. In a strong field, Bulgaria’s two-time EUBC European Champion Daniel Asenov was in sparkling form in Kharkiv two months ago, while Algeria’s Mohamed Flissi has achieved podium finishes at the last two World Championships. Jasurbek Latipov returned to the Uzbekistan squad full of confidence and will be looking for a gold medal to go with his silver in 2013 and bronze two years earlier, but the experienced figures of Italy’s Manuel Cappai, Colombia’s Ceiber David Avila and Ireland’s Brendan Irvine all have what it takes to shine in Hamburg. Good preparations from Germany’s Hamza Touba and Ukraine’s Dmytro Zamotaev have also put them in medal-winning form.

An intriguing Bantamweight competition awaits in Hamburg, with Dominican Republic’s AMBC Champion Leonel de los Santos, England’s EUBC Champion Peter McGrail and Uzbekistan’s ASBC Champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev all impressing during their respective Continental Championships earlier this year. Javier Ibanez will take some stopping after several brilliant displays for Cuba Domadores this season, but USA’s young hope Duke Ragan was also full of confidence during the AMBC tournament in Tegucigalpa. Ukraine’s Mykola Butsenko knows what it takes to win a medal on the biggest stage, and Mauritius’ AFBC Champion Jean-Jordy Vadamootoo also has the talent to go a long way in this year’s competition along with China’s Jiawei Zhang, Kazakhstan’s Kairat Yeraliyev, Scotland’s Lee McGregor and Australian talent Sam Goodman.

Having won gold at the last three World Championships, Cuba’s Lazaro Alvarez faces his toughest test yet as he tries to top the podium for a fourth straight time and win gold in Hamburg. England’s Calum French has amassed a host of AOB titles over the past two years and will be eager to make his mark on the biggest stage of them all, but France’s Olympic silver medallist Sofiane Oumiha is well-prepared and will bring his very best to the Sporthalle. The USA’s promising Delante Johnson was among the stars of the AIBA World Youth Championships in November and will be hoping to make an immediate impact at the elite level, while Ukraine’s Iurii Shestak defeated Russia’s Gabil Mamedov in the EUBC final two months ago to confirm both are currently among the strongest in the world. Mongolia’s ASBC Asian Champion Otgondalai Dorjnyambuu is also a contender along with India’s two-time Olympian Shiva Thapa, Kazakh National Champion Adilet Kurmetov and Kenya’s Nicholas Okoth.

A Bantamweight Quarter-Finalist in Doha, Cuba’s Andy Cruz has settled in well at his new Light Welterweight category and the Pan-American Games winner and AMBC American Champion has been in unstoppable form in AOB and WSB competition ahead of this year’s World Championships. German number one Artem Harutyunyan will need no more inspiration than his home-town crowd as he pursues a career-best performance, but it was Armenia’s Hovhannes Bachkov who wowed at the EUBC Championships in Kharkiv and will go into the tournament full of confidence. Russia’s defending World Champion Vitaly Dunaytsev returns but needed a wildcard to qualify after losing twice to Ireland’s Sean McComb this year, while England’s European U22 Champion Luke McCormack is in the best form of his career. Azerbaijan’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games silver medallist Lorenzo Sotomayor is always likely to be a medal contender, and Uzbekistan have unearthed a real talent in Ikboljon Kholdarov.

The Welterweight (69kg) category in Hamburg is once again replete with potential podium firepower that, in Cuba’s Roniel Iglesias, has a former World Champion now back in the kind of form that saw him win Olympic gold at London 2012. Uzbekistan’s Shakhram Giyasov won Olympic silver in Rio but suffered defeat at the hands of the Cuban in the WSB Play-Offs earlier this year, and the two EUBC finalists, Germany’s Abass Baraou and England’s Pat McCormack, will both be looking to find their way safely through the early stages of this year’s tournament and mount a serious title challenge. Venezuela’s Gabriel Maestre, Kazakhstan’s 2014 Youth Olympic Games winner Ablaikhan Zhussupov, Italy’s Vincenzo Mangiacapre and Russia’s Sergei Sobylinskiy are also among the names that will be chasing for the title in Hamburg.

Ukraine’s Oleksandr Khyzhniak impressed with his energetic and attacking flair in Kharkiv, and will be looking to emulate that EUBC success in Hamburg when he goes up against the best Middleweights in the world. The field includes the likes of Uzbekistan’s Israil Madrimov, who has enjoyed huge AOB and WSB success since moving up to the weight category just last year, Cuba’s defending AIBA World Champion and Rio 2016 Olympic Champion Arlen Lopez, Kazakh newcomer Abilkhan Amankul and Russia’s Petr Khamukov. India’s two-time Olympian and former Asian Games winner Vikas Krishan Yadav will have a podium finish firmly in his sights, as will Cameroon’s AFBC Champion Dieudonne Ntsengue, Azerbaijan’s Kamran Shakhsuvarly, Colombian Jorge Luis Vivas and Hungary’s double-Olympian Zoltan Harcsa.

Like his teammate Lazaro Alvarez, Cuba’s Julio Cesar La Cruz arrives in Hamburg chasing a remarkable fourth straight World title, and his dominance of the weight category continued in Rio with Olympic gold last year. Standing in his way is a talented Light Heavyweight field that includes Uzbekistan’s tough Bektemir Melikuziev, runner-up to La Cruz in Doha and Rio, and Ireland’s three-time EUBC Champion Joe Ward, hoping to finally convert European gold to a World title. The 25-year-old Kazakh Yerik Alzhanov, Russia’s EUBC silver medallist Muslim Gadzhimagomedov, Venezuela’s WSB star Albert Ramon Ramirez and Ecuador’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games quarter-finalist Carlos Andres Mina all have the ability to make a big impact on the competition, while Brazil’s Michel Borges will want to carry his momentum from Rio 2016 on into Hamburg.

Russia’s Evgeny Tishchenko is the reigning Olympic Champion, AIBA World Champion and EUBC European Champion, but will need to overcome the likes of Kazakhstan’s number one Vassiliy Levit and Cuba’s imposing Erislandy Savon if he is to successfully defend his title in Hamburg. Commonwealth Games winner and unbeaten WSB newcomer David Nyika could become only the second New Zealander to win a World Championship medal if he is able to maintain his excellent form going in to the tournament, but a strong contingent from the Americas is packed with podium potential in the form of Argentina’s Yamil Alberto Peralta, Colombian veteran Deivis Julio and Ecuador’s double Olympian Julio Cesar Castillo. France’s EUBC European U22 Champion Paul Omba Biongolo and England’s Cheavan Clarke are among the new talents hoping to make their mark on the competition.

With Cuba’s Jose Angel Larduet and England’s Frazer Clarke both unable to compete in Hamburg, the medal opportunities at Super Heavyweight open up a little wider with the likes of Kazakhstan’s Kamshybek Kunkabayev and Uzbekistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov ready to seize the initiative and mount serious title challenges. Among the boxers also pursuing podium finishes will be Azerbaijan’s two-time World Champion Mahammadrasul Majidov, Ukraine’s EUBC European Champion Viktor Vykhryst and Russia’s Maxim Babanin. Germany’s Max Keller will be dreaming of a medal as he makes his World Championship debut, along with Jordan’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games quarter-finalist and ASBC bronze medallist Hussein Iashaish. The powerful Romanian Mihai Nistor, Australia’s Commonwealth Games silver medallist Joseph Goodall and Denmark’s Kem Ljungquist Larsen will also be looking to safely progress through to the latter stages and push for a medal.