Sofiane Oumiha from France gets the first victory on the way to defending his title
May 3rd, 2023 / Tashkent 2023
The IBA Men’s World Boxing Championships in Tashkent has entered its third day, with an unprecedented prize money pool of $5.2 million at stake. The excitement in the air is palpable, as the athletes battle it out to secure their spot in the next stages of the prestigious tournament.
Dominican Republic’s first-seeded 27-year-old Alexy De La Cruz made it clear with a unanimous victory in the 60kg category over Enkhtur Tegshjargal from Mongolia. However, the next one would be a great challenge for the Dominican boxer, as he meets Cuban Erislandi Alvarez who easily eliminated Indonesian rival Gianlugi Kalaipupin in the first round.
A fight between Zambia’s Andrew Chilata and Artur Ghazaryan from Armenia in 60kg was truly spectacular. The African boxer was impressive in his attacks and claimed a victory with a split decision of 4:1. In another fight of the division, the seconds of Japanese boxer Ren Oohashi threw the towel in the ring in the second round, as it looked like the boxer received an injury and couldn’t be competitive. The fight was abandoned in favor of Artyush Gomtsyan from Georgia who was confident in his punches to convince the rival’s corner to stop the contest. Bulgaria’s Radoslav Rosenov had an easy win in the 60kg division against Alejandro Monterossa from El Salvador.
In 71kg, Davey Shannan from Australia and Cuban Terry Jorge Cuellar showed an impressive performance, and the boxer from the American continent celebrated a victory by a split decision of 3:1 despite the standing count in the third round. Despite the unanimous judges’ verdict in favor of Simnikiwe Bongco from South Africa, they both performed impressively in the ring with Tawhirimatea Toheriri from Cook Islands in the 71kg division bout. A contest with rivals from two continents was truly emotional.
The day was marked by a series of victories secured ahead of time, with several boxers outperforming their opponents to guarantee their advancement.
Among them, Vsevolod Shumkov from Russia stopped his rival from Israel Vladislav Voroshilov in the second round of their 60kg contest. So did Mujibillo Tursunov from Uzbekistan against Marry Corr from the Gambia in the middle of their bout. Alexandru Paraschiv from Moldova eliminated Minjae Tae from South Korea in the second round. Nejc Petric from Slovenia celebrated a victory over Zimbabwe Thapelo Mpofu Lwazi ahead of schedule.
In the very next bout referee stopped the contest between Jhonny Fernandez from the Dominican Republic and Athoumani Samir Barouf from Comoros in the first round to favor of the former. So did Merven Clair from Mauritius when he stopped Nestor Nduwarugira from Burundi soon after the start of the bout. Moroccan Hamza El-Barbari saw off Husain Alkandari from UAE in the third round. The contest between Jose Quiles Brotons from Spain and Krenar Zeneli from Albania was stopped by the referee in the third round when the Spanish boxer celebrated his success. Turkmenian boxer Shukur Ovezov finished the bout in the first round against the Chinese Yikun Zhao in 60kg.
In 67kg, Yuto Wakita from Japan won Oliwer Oskar Szot from Poland by RSC in the second round. Isaac Zebra from Uganda eliminated Thodoris Ritzakis from Greece in the second round. Georgian Eskerkhan Madiev finished the contest in the second round against Saint Lucia’s Kyghan Mortley. Colombian Jhonatan Arboleda eliminated Miguel Angel Arias from the Dominican Republic in 71kg. Kyrgyz boxer Nuradin Rustambek-Uulu won by RSC in the first round against Niger’s Baro Yacouba.
The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the intense bout between French superstar and second-seeded defending world champion Sofiane Oumiha and Abdul Omar from Ghana in the 60kg category.
28-year-old French boxer, known for his impressive skill set and experience, started the bout at a slower pace than expected. However, as the fight progressed, he found his rhythm and dominated the fight. Omar put up a brave performance, but Oumiha’s superior technique and punches were thrown from different angles and agility ultimately proved too much for the Ghanaian boxer. With a well-deserved victory under his belt, Oumiha advanced to the next stage of the competition.
‘It’s the start of the hard competition and we had to take things seriously,’ Oumiha said. ‘I am slowly starting the tournament. It’s my first fight so with the competition going on, it’s going to be fine. I prepared well in Toulouse. Now it only remains to become a world champion in Tashkent. I’m proud of what I was able to do. We put a strategy in place and it worked. The competition is going to be long and it’s up to me to stay focused for the next fights.’
He also commented on a prize money fund that was doubled.
‘[Prize money] it is something that also attracts. Especially since it’s now $200,000 USD. I aspire to be a world champion so it’s true that prize money is something important and that’s why today we all fight at the World Championships. Every fight is dangerous for me because all the boxers are ready and all the boxers want the prize money,’ Oumiha concluded.
This year’s IBA Men’s World Boxing Championships have attracted an exceptional lineup of athletes from around the world, all vying for record-breaking prize money and the honor of being crowned world champion. As the event unfolds, the anticipation among fans and competitors continues to grow.
With 10 more days of thrilling and high-stakes bouts, the IBA Men’s World Boxing Championships in Tashkent promises to be an unforgettable boxing event. As the competition progresses, all eyes will be on the fighters as they push themselves to the limit in pursuit of victory.