The nine final contests were on the agenda at the 8th Balkan Women’s Tournament in Bulgaria’s capital, in Sofia on Day3. Bulgaria’s Svetlana Kamenova won the dream final at the featherweight (57kg) but England also impressed in the last day of boxing.
Next to the European countries, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Canada and Chinese Taipei also sent their women boxers to the international event. Altogether 12 nations participated in the Balkan Women’s Tournament and among them Bulgaria, Uzbekistan, France, England, Italy, Kosovo, and Chinese Taipei had finalists. The Technical Delegate of the Balkan Women’s Tournament is Mr. Dragoljub Radovic of Montenegro.
The new edition of the Balkan Women’s Tournament was held only for the elite boxers in order to give chance for them to prepare for the main championships. The Balkan Women’s Tournament was a strong preparation for the EUBC European Women’s Boxing Championships and the ASBC Asian Elite Boxing Championships.
The bout of the day
The dream final of the featherweight (57kg) made it happen at the Balkan Women’s Tournament which was the most anticipated fight of the entire competition. Bulgaria’s Svetlana Kamenova and Italy’s Olympic Games bronze medallist Irma Testa advanced to the finals and made a strong tactical battle, a real chess game in Sofia. The returning Kamenova and Testa both lost only one bout before their meeting in the final of the Balkan Women’s Tournament in 2022. Their meeting was a world-class contest and both boxers used their patient styles in the final which was won by Kamenova tightly.
The surprise of the day
The Uzbek girls developed rapidly under the leadership of their previous star boxer, the World Boxing Championships silver medallist and two-time Asian Games gold medallist Elshod Rasulov. Navbakhor Khamidova is in fantastic form since Mr. Rasulov joined the team as head coach and she won international tournaments. The 21-year-old Uzbek had an English rival in the final, Hannah Robinson who returned to the national team after a break as Charley Davison. Khamidova used her technician style of boxing but Robinson had the perfect answers and the English girl won that final surprisingly.
Bulgaria’s achieved one medal, a bronze at the recent IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships which was achieved by their minimumweight (48kg) boxer, Sevda Asenova. The veteran boxer had a tough final opponent, the 18-years-younger Farzona Fozilova of Uzbekistan, the ASBC Asian Youth Champion. Asenova is a smart boxer and used her technical skills to keep the best distance against Fozilova who is the biggest talent in the entire world in this weight class. The Uzbek is also a virtuoso boxer as Asenova but the Bulgarian had more experiences to decide their final contest.
France had a few issues at the flyweight (52kg) in the recent one year but their former EUBC European Elite Boxing Championships bronze medallist Wassila Lkhadiri returned to the national team and not only competed at the Balkan Women’s Tournament but she won the competition. The 27-year-old French had three successful contests in the Bulgarian capital and she impressed in the last competition day against Uzbekistan’s ASBC Asian Youth Champion 19-year-old Feruza Kazakova.
England’s Charley Davison achieved medals in the international stage in 2010 but after that she focused to her family life in her homeland. She returned to the national team in 2019 and a few international events were enough to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Davison was almost a medallist at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships and she proved her further developments in Sofia. Davison eliminated Canada’s AMBC American Elite Champion Scarlett Delgado in the semi-finals and she continued her amazing series against Uzbekistan’s Youth World Champion Nigina Uktamova.
England’s Shona Whitwell had strong junior and youth results between 2013 and 2016 and joined the elite national team in 2017 at the age of 19. She found her best category, the lightweight (60kg) which is always strong in her country but the tall girl has all of the skills to be a champion in an upcoming major event. Whitwell not only advanced to the final of the Balkan Women’s Tournament but she won the title of the weight class after beating Kosovo’s Olympian and bronze medallist from the recent IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships, Donjeta Sadiku keeping the best distance.