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Iliev, Arsovski and Zeneli are the heroes of the quarter-finals at the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships

The second and last part of the quarter-finals were held in the sixth competition day at the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. Further 48 bouts were on the agenda of the championships and these contests were divided into two sessions. Following six competition days, the best 100 boxers remained in action in the event and all are medallists in Sofia.

The men’s lightweight (60kg) is one of the strongest weight category in the whole competition and Bulgaria’s Toni Iliev proved his impressive technical skills on Day6. His fighting style was similar as Radoslav Rosenov’s one which paid off in the day of the quarter-finals. North Macedonia’s Petar Arsovski and Albania’s Arjol Zeneli bagged their developing nations medals in the event. 

Altogether 402 boxers registered from 40 nations to the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships and among them 377 arrived to Sofia, which made the event busy and high quality. The Bulgarian Boxing Federation hosted the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships in 2019 last time and after three years, the event returned to Sofia.

Boxers who were born in 2004 and in 2005 are eligible to attend in the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships in Sofia. The 2021 edition introduced the new youth weight categories, the girls attended in 12 while the boys in 13 different weight classes in Montenegro and the schedule is the same in Sofia too.

The safety of all participants, the continuous medical checks, the social distancing, the hygienic preparations, wearing masks, the vaccines check and all of the health controls were the responsibility of the local organizers in Bulgaria avoid any new Covid-19 cases during the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships.

The bout of the day

Ukraine’s Oleksandr Balabin claimed gold medal at the 2020 EUBC Junior European Boxing Championships in Sofia and he returned to the Bulgarian capital as a youth boxer. The Ukrainian southpaw met with a dangerous rival, England’s Luke Turner in the quarter-final of the middleweight (75kg) and he expected an early final. The Ukrainian boxer’s strategy worked better in the first round and he had the advantage in all of the judges’ scorecards after three minutes. Balabin kept his English opponent on long but both were patient waited for the best attacking positions. Balabin’s left-handed hooks were dangerous in the second round but Turner responded many of those shots in time. The difference between them was the level of the international experiences which meant Balabin won their contest and bagged the guaranteed medal in Sofia.

The surprise of the day

Romania’s Dorulet Tiu amazed in the 2020 EUBC Junior European Boxing Championships and his strength guaranteed for him a gold medal at the Brasov Youth Open this year. The powerful Romanian is one of the secret favourites at the light middleweight (71kg) and trusted on his strong jabs in the first round against Slovakia’s Roman Horvath. The Romanian boxer tried to keep his Slovakian rival on close distance and used his in-fighting style but Horvath exceeded the expectations. The Slovakian kept better fighting distance in the second and third rounds and his stamina delivered for him a sensational medal.

The Round-Up

Poland’s Nikolas Pawlik was bronze medallist at the 2020 EUBC Junior European Boxing Championships and arrived to Sofia as one of the favourites of the minimumweight (48kg). The Polish boxer followed his well-built strategy against Brasov Youth Tournament winner Csaba Zsigo of Hungary. The Polish boxer was not enough fast in the first round than in his previous contest and received punches from the younger Hungarian. Pawlik caught the Hungarian with tough shots in the second and the referee counted his opponent. The Polish used his distance better in the second and third rounds to win their quarter-final bout.

North Macedonia’s Petar Arsovski trains in Sofia and he knew the local environment well enough to deliver his best performance in time. Arsovski won a narrow contest in the preliminary stage of the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships and he had energetic performance against Greece’s Antonio Remus Velis. The North Macedonian southpaw was effective in the first and second rounds against his newcomer Greek rival and he earned his nation’s next medal after Ardijan Azemi’s bronze in the 2020 edition. Arsovski will be meeting in the last four with Bulgaria’s youth No.1 Lyuboslav Metodiev who bowed out Poland’s Nikodem Szafarz.

Ireland returned to the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships after a break and their young hopes spent the time of their absence with hard trainings in their green island. Thady Joyce is not experienced in the international competitions yet but he proved excellent technical skills in the sixth day of boxing in Sofia. The Irish minimumweight (48kg) boxer used up his opponent’s faults to lead on the scorecards after three minutes of fight. Ukraine’s Vladyslav Kondratiuk was not enough fast in the contest and the Irish boy’s single jabs decided their quarter-final bout.

Bulgaria’s Toni Iliev had the clear target before the start of the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships and he worked hard in the previous rounds to accomplish his goals. The local boxer is small at the lightweight (60kg) but he was quicker in the exchanges than Latvia’s Bruno Bulders in the first round and took the lead on the scorecards. Iliev used similar style boxing as Bulgaria’s multiple European Champion teenage sensation Radoslav Rosenov and his quick attacks surprised the Latvian boxer. Iliev felt the support of the home crowd and worked hard enough to win his quarter-final bout in Sofia earning Bulgaria’s next medal after Lyuboslav Metodiev’s success.

Armenia’s Erik Israyelyan is a fantastic puncher who knocked out his first rival and he dominated his second preliminary bout too. The powerful Armenian started the first round in amazing rhythm against Montenegro’s Tomislav Djinovic and he landed fantastic hooks in the opening exchanges. The referee counted the Montenegrin in the first minute and Israyelyan put him under pressure and decided their contest before the end of the round. The Armenian delivered his third-in-a-row RSC success and will be meeting for the final at the lightweight (60kg) with Georgia’s Gocha Gordulava who defeated a technician Ukrainian opponent, Oleksandr Yarovyi.

Albania’s Arjol Zeneli caused one of the main sensations of the entire EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships in the previous round when he eliminated the top favourite of the men’s flyweight (51kg), the defending champion Rafael Lozano Serrano of Spain. The Albanian boxer used the same strategy in the quarter-final as in the preliminary stage, Slovakia’s Lukas Vymyslicky and he had the advantage after three minutes. Zeneli, who came from a strong boxing family, started relatively slowly but from the second round, he showed his best combinations. The Albanian enjoyed his third round and eliminated the younger Slovakian which means that he is a medallist in the competition.

Moldova’s EUBC European Junior Champion Ilie Argatu arrived to Sofia once again following his gold medal one and half year ago. The Moldovan flyweight (51kg) talent had to box with Romania’s Vlad Constantin Schiopu who landed good punches in the first round. Argatu found his best rhythm in the second round and he controlled that part in their excellent quarter-final bout. Argatu proved his very best in the third and decided the contest with his wonderful footwork claiming a guaranteed medal for Moldova. Argatu’s compatriot, Ianus Caravan landed more punches than his Greek opponent, Panagiotis Kostouris and achieved the next medal for Moldova. 

France’s Marwan Mouflih was quarter-finalist in the 2020 EUBC Junior European Boxing Championships and he had strong preparation to this impressive competition. The French featherweight (57kg) boxer ruled the middle of the ring against Ireland’s John Donoghue who had excellent footwork in their quarter-final bout. Mouflih tried to catch the quick Irish boy but it was not an easy task in the first round therefore the French changed into a more aggressive tactic in the second. Donoghue had fantastic footwork but he did not land enough punches to win their contest in Sofia and the French succeeded.

Greece’s Michail Tsamalidis was the main surprise of the Adriatic Pearl Youth Tournament, he defeated the Cuban No.1 and all others in Montenegro. The Greek light heavyweight (80kg) boxer advanced to the quarter-finals in Sofia with great performance but he had still the huge motivation to do it much better in the last eight. The new Greek hope controlled the first round against Italy’s Tiziano Isiah Marcy and he pressurized his opponent in the whole bout. Tsamalidis landed tough shots in the second and won their contest by RSC which means he reached his career highlight with a guaranteed medal in Sofia.  

Latvia’s Renats Sarovs competed in various international competitions but he never had the chance to get a medal in such a big event at the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships. The Latvian light welterweight (63.5kg) boxer started carefully against Bulgaria’s Mario Radev but he gained the control from the second round and earned a guaranteed medal in Sofia. Sarov’s fellow, another Latvian talent, Kitija Zarberga exceeded the expectations and defeated Germany’s Samantha Reiber at the women’s welterweight (66kg) earning her Baltic nation’s second medal in Sofia. 

The quote of the day

“I am happy with my today’s performance but this is only the first step. I reached the final in 2020 but I failed that bout therefore the goal is now the title of the weight class. That is why I am preparing for and that is all I am looking at now. My next opponent could be difficult but I will try to beat him in the same way as how I won today. I am confident. Thanks for all of the support which I received from my friends, the feeling was amazing,” commented Bulgaria’s Toni Iliev his clear success.

The live streaming in the seventh competition day

You can follow all of the Day7 actions LIVE from the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships Sofia 2022 in the YouTube channel of the European Boxing Confederation: