The 2014 AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships which opens on April 14 in Sofia, Bulgaria, is not only the first global boxing event of the year, but most importantly the sole Qualifying Event for the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games. Expect some amazing action in ten Men’s weight categories and three Women’s Olympic weight categories.
What: AIBA Youth World Championships
Where: Sofia, Bulgaria
When: 11-24 April, 2014
The Tension and the Drama
In the 2010 AIBA Youth World Championships which was held in Baku, Azerbaijan a lot of stars shined in the event and did a breakthrough in their career. Among them Robeisy Eloy Ramirez Carrazana of Cuba claimed the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics as well while Lithuania’s Evaldas Petrauskas also won a valuable bronze in the London 2012 Olympics. Who will be the biggest stars and new faces in the Rio 2016 Olympics among the winners in Sofia?
The teams in Sofia
Joining to the host nation the top nations such as Azerbaijan, Belarus, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, United States of America and Uzbekistan will be competing with maximum numbers of ten boxers in the male part of the championships.
Several nations will send huge delegations but not full team like the AIBA Team, Algeria, Armenia, Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Croatia, Egypt, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, and Venezuela. In the female part of the AIBA Youth World Championships record number of twenty nations will be sending athletes in all three Olympic weight classes.
Ones to watch
The Lightweight class (60 kg) will be the most strongest division in Sofia with a lot of talented and experienced boxers. Kazakhstan’s AIBA Junior World Champion and ASBC Asian Youth Champion Abylaykhan Zhussupov is the top favourite but Russia’s EUBC European Junior Champion Tamerlan Batdiyev, Cuba’s AIBA Junior World Champion Alayn Limonta Boudet and Italy’s EUBC European Youth Continental Championships bronze medallist Francesco Maietta also will fight in this weight class.
US star Shakur Stevenson began his boxing career at the age of 5 therefore his experiences is one of the highest in the world in this age group. The US teenager took the gold medal at the AIBA Junior World Championships in Kiev last September. Since then he won the US Youth National Championships against a top rival which was the trial event for the US athletes to the AIBA Youth World Championships. The 17-year-old Flyweight class (52 kg) boxer is gold medal contender in Sofia.
Australia’s AIBA Junior World Champion and Brandenburg Youth Cup winner Satali Tevi Fuimaono did not lose any bout in the recent two years and has got excellent expectations at the Middleweight class (75 kg). The Russian stars such as two-time EUBC European Junior Champion Timur Pirdamov (69 kg) and unbeaten Marat Kerimkhanov (+91 kg) also athletes who need to be watched in Sofia. Ukraine’s top youth athlete two-time European Junior Champion and European Youth Championships silver medallist Viktor Petrov had more than two-hundred bouts during his career and travelled for the gold of the Light Welterweight class (64 kg) to Sofia.
The host nation’s best weapon will be Blagoy Naydenov at the Light Heavyweight class (81 kg) who won the gold medal at the 2012 EUBC European Junior Continental Championships in Sofia two years ago. He can proves his skills once again on home soil and following his gold medal at the Danas Pozniakas Youth Memorial Tournament he has got real chance to win his weight class in the event. Next to Naydenov EUBC European Junior Champion Daniel Asenov (52 kg) and Dushko Blagovestov Mihaylov (56 kg) are the host nation’s further hopes in the AIBA Youth World Championships.
Fact of the tournament
Record number of boxers registered to take part in the AIBA Youth World Championships in Sofia where 506 male athletes can show their current knowledge of boxing. One hundred female youth athletes will be competing in the three Olympic weight classes at the 51, 60 and 75 kg. The AIBA Road to Sofia Program supported many boxers to realize their dreams and qualify to the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics prior the AIBA Youth World Championships. Great news for the world’s boxing life that Bhutan, Haiti, Sudan, Tonga and United Arab Emirates send athletes at the very first time in the history of the championships.
History in the event
AIBA launched the championships for the this age group and named the event as AIBA Junior World Championships in 1979 when Yokohama was the host of the first edition. The last edition for the name of Junior World Championships was held in Agadir in 2006 and following that AIBA changed the name of the age group to youth due the decision of the International Olympic Committee to launch the Youth Olympic Games.
The first AIBA Youth World Championships was held in Guadalajara in 2008 when current AIBA World Champion Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan claimed a silver medal. The capital city of Azerbaijan, Baku hosted the historical first qualification championships for the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic with great success while the last edition was held in Yerevan, Armenia in 2012.