The 26th Acropolis Cup continued with one female and fifteen male contests in the second competition day in Athens, Greece. The super talented 19-year-old Greek EUBC European Youth Champion girl, Antonia Giannakopoulou impressed in her opening contest in Athens and advanced to the final.
One of the previous prestigious European competitions, the Acropolis Cup is back on track to international agenda after 18 years of break. The Technical Delegate of the Acropolis Cup is Mr. Maxim Cherticovtsev of Moldova but EUBC President Mr. Ioannis Filippatos also follow the bouts in Athens together with the President of the Hellenic Boxing Federation Mr. Charis Mariolis.
The 14 participating nations at the Acropolis Cup are the following: Armenia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Poland, Seychelles, Slovenia, Trinidad & Tobago, and Ukraine. The number of the participating female and male boxers is 68 in Athens who are aiming for the 13 gold medals. The venue of the Acropolis Cup is the Panathenaic Stadium in the centre of Athens which is a historic stadium built in 330/329 BC.
The bout of the day
Cyprus’ Andreas Kokkinos is the best elite male boxer of his nation who won bouts in big events such as the Belgrade 2021 AIBA World Boxing Championships. The currently 26-year-old boxer has several years of international experiences and his main mission this year is the Commonwealth Games. The Cyprian middleweight (75kg) boxer had a veteran Greek opponent, Konstantinos Petropoulos who returned to the national team after a long break. Kokkinos was punctual in the first round but Petropoulos changed his tactics in the second to beat his Cyprian opponent. Kokkinos was slightly better in the decisive third round and marched to the semi-final of this strong weight class.
The surprise of the day
North Macedonia’s Jasin Ljama won his opening contest at the Belgrade 2021 AIBA World Boxing Championships and he earned several gold medals in international tournaments in the Balkan region. The North Macedonian was too experienced for Greece’s Stelios Kyrsanidis in their light welterweight (63.5kg) quarter-final but Ljama could not find the best fighting distance in their meeting. Kyrsanidis, whose elder brother was also a boxer in the past, has never boxed any international events yet but he eliminated the North Macedonian and earned a guaranteed medal in Athens.
Greece’s Antonia Giannakopoulou achieved an impressive gold medal at the 2021 EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships in Budva reaching her career highlight. The currently 19-year-old Greek talent competes at the U22 and elite age group and she enjoyed her first contest at the Acropolis Cup. Giannakopoulou controlled the first round against Trinidad & Tobago’s Women’s World Boxing Championships competitor Tianna Guy and took the lead in all of the judges’ scorecards. The Greek teenager won all of the three rounds using her extraordinary speed to advance to the final of the women’s featherweight (57kg).
Three Armenians compete at the light welterweight (63.5kg) in the Acropolis Cup and all of them advanced to the semi-finals. Benik Nikoghosyan eliminated Cyprus’ Alexandros Christodoulou in a narrow contest before Ararat Gyulbangyan outpointed Greece’s Georgios Pappas. The third Armenian, Narek Hovhannisyan defeated Slovenia’s Nik Nikolov Veber in the first day of boxing and he had a tough second opponent. The 24-year-old Hovhannisyan found the best tactics against Ukraine’s promising Danylo Lozan and joined their teammates in the last four.
Bulgaria had excellent welterweight (67kg) boxers in their history and their new hope is Rumen Rumenov who received the right to increase his international experiences in Athens. The young Bulgarian proved that he has better technical skills than Greece’s Georgios Chorvalakos and secured his place in the last four. Rumenov’s semi-final opponent will be one of the biggest Ukrainian talents, EUBC European Youth Champion Bozorboy Matyakubov who won almost all of his contests as a youth boxer and eliminated Seychelles’ Shaun Boniface in Athens.
Greece’s returning Theodoros Ritzakis had a tough rival in the quarter-finals of the light middleweight (71kg), Kazakhstan’s young Margulan Aidaruly but he used up all of his experiences to handle this tactical bout. Ritzakis decided to come back to the national team and he succeeded in the second day of boxing winning this fight by split decision. Another close contest was held between Latvia’s Toms Limbens and Greece’s Emiliano Drekai at the middleweight (75kg). The Latvian boxer shared his power better and he succeeded against the local hope advancing to the semi-finals.