The history rich Algirdas Socikas International Boxing Tournament is currently ongoing in the Lithuanian city of Kaunas. Altogether 100 boxers from the following 17 countries are vying for medals: Armenia, Belgium, Czech Republic, England, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Scotland, Sweden, Ukraine and Wales. The tournament will last three days, from March 30th – April 1st, in the Kaunas Sports Hall. Elite men will box in all weight categories except the 48 kg, while the women’s competition will be organized only in the 81 kg weight class.
During almost three decades of the tournament’s history, a lot of decorated boxers visited Kaunas. Among others, there were Olympic champions Roberto Cammarelle, Luke Campbell, Anthony Joshua and Evgeniy Tishchenko. This year some of the most popular names are Ukrainians Oleksandr Khyzhniak and Yurii Zakhariev. Khyzhniak, an 80 kg competitior, was Olympic vice-champion, World champion and European champion, while 71kg Zakhariev, won the gold medal at the World Championships in Belgrade, 2021.
The tournament is organized in memory of the great Lithuanian boxer Algirdas Socikas. He was two times European champion (Warsaw, 1953 and Berlin, 1955) in the heavyweight category. It was a time when the heaviest category was above 81 kg. Algirdas Socikas was also an Olympian (1952), six times Soviet Union champion, and three times Baltic champion.
The tournament has been passed on from father to son.
Rimantas Rutkauskas, one of Socikas’s boxers, started the tournament in Kaunas in 1996. He was the president of Lithuania Boxing Federation and is currently President of Kaunas Boxing Federation. Rimantas’s son, Egidijus, was 9 years old at the time. His dream was to be part of the organization of this tournament, and this became a reality 6 years ago. He said, “I was raised with this tournament and I wanted to be part of the organization one day. I became vice-president of Lithuanian Boxing Federation and year by year my involvement was higher. Now I am the main organizer and I am proud that this year there are 17 countries and more than 100 boxers. I hope that in few years the tournament will reach 20 participating countries and my father will be so proud. This tournament is an important part of my life and also a duty to promote the name of the greatest boxer from Lithuania”, Egidijus said.