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Perijoc and Zekic eliminated the top stars of the bantamweight in Istanbul

A marathon program was held on the fourth competition day at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul, Turkey today with altogether 57 bouts in the schedule. The European surprises as Romania’s Lacramioara Perijoc and Serbia’s Jelena Zekic eliminated the top stars of the bantamweight (54kg) on Day4.

Armenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, England, Fair Chance Team, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and Wales are representing the European Boxing Confederation in the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. The number of European boxers is 118 in Istanbul representing 27 different nations from all of the regions of the continent.

Boxers at the light flyweight (50kg), bantamweight (54kg), lightweight (60kg) and welterweight (66kg) competed for the last 16 in Istanbul on Day4. Due to the IBA Congress tomorrow, the number of contests will be only 12 in the evening session tomorrow.  

The bout of the day

Romania’s Lacramioara Perijoc is the defending EUBC European Champion at the bantamweight (54kg) but she was not a favourite in her opening contest against Chinese Taipei’s Huang Hsiao Wen. Her opponent was the reigning World Champion and bronze medallist from the Tokyo Olympic Games but Perijoc is a brave boxer, she was planning to deliver over her previous limit today. The Romanian boxer shocked Huang in the first round and landed strong hooks to take a narrow lead after three minutes. Chinese Taipei’s pride found her tempo in the second round but Perijoc had the fuel and reserve for the third to win this preliminary contest, one of the bests on the day.

The surprises of the day

France’s Caroline Cruveillier achieved a valuable silver medal at the 2019 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Ulan-Ude and the EUBC European U22 Champion arrived in Istanbul with high expectations. The French bantamweight (54kg) boxer had a very uncomfortable opponent, Serbia’s Jelena Zekic who pressured Cruveillier from the first seconds. The French could not use her best weapon, to work from a longer distance clearly and suffered an unexpected loss today.

England sent a small delegation to Istanbul but the quality of the team was high and after Kerry Davis and Charley Davison, another squad member showed her progress. Shona Whitwell is only 24 now but she has won several medals in international competitions since 2015. The English girl moved down to the lightweight (60kg) and met with Kazakhstan’s ASBC Asian Champion Rimma Volosenko who won 90% of her international contests. Whitwell used her distance and longer reach well in most of the exchanges and her efforts were enough to win this top contest.

The Round-Up

Ireland’s Caitlin Fryers regained her place in the national team and she was better in all aspects of boxing than South Africa’s Thandolwethu Mathiba. The Irish light flyweight (50kg) boxer dominated all of the three rounds and marched to the last 16 in Istanbul. Another European favourite in this weight category, the Tokyo Olympian Giordana Sorrentino of Italy eliminated another African boxer, Egypt’s Eman Faraj Hussein Mohamed which was an excellent warm-up for her.

Armenia’s Anush Grigoryan claimed a gold medal at the EUBC U22 European Boxing Championships in 2019 and she competed in all levels of boxing except the Olympic Games. The Armenian light flyweight (50kg) boxer had a promising young rival, Finland’s Pihla Kaivo-Oja who had the medals already from several international events despite her age of 20. The Finnish boxer, who trains in the famous boxing city, Tampere, used her longer hands in the first round and she had the concentration. The 25-year-old Grigoryan increased her tempo in the second round and the smaller Armenian was able to win this difficult contest winning it by split decision.

One of the secret favourites of the bantamweight (54kg) is a 20-year-old Irish girl, Niamh Fay who won the gold medal at the EUBC U22 European Boxing Championships following her youth continental title. The Irish youngster is just eligible to attend in the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships but she delivered an energetic performance in the afternoon session against DR Congo’s Modestine Munga Zalia. Fay got control of the fight after a few seconds and she landed lethal punches against the experienced African and the referee confirmed her RSC triumph.

Poland’s Aneta Rygielska claimed a silver medal at the 2019 EUBC European Women’s Boxing Championships and she has 11 years of international experience despite her age of 27. The Polish girl moved up to the welterweight (66kg) which was a big change in her life but she proved that it was worth it today. Rygielska controlled all of the exchanges in the first round against Slovenia’s lone competitor in Istanbul, Tanja Ovsenik and took the lead on the scorecards. The Polish girl moved closer and closer minute by minute and caught the tall Slovenian with tough shots, winning the bout unanimously.

France’s Romane Moulai was EUBC European U22 Champion last June and she was invited to the elite squad to compete in her first ever Women’s World Boxing Championships. The French boxer met with her neighbouring rival, Spain’s Laura Fuertes who was born in 1999 too as Moulai. Both boxers knew each other well and the taller Spaniard tried to use different tactics this time in their meeting. Fuertes won her last preparation event, and she boxed from her heart and kept the French on long to win this tight contest in Istanbul.

Ekaterina Sycheva was born in Russia and she competed in various national and smaller international tournaments in the past but she did not have any chance to attend in major championships. The experienced bantamweight (54kg) boxer decided to switch to Armenia where the concurrency is smaller and she can compete for her new homeland in Istanbul. Sycheva met with Ukraine’s newcomer Svitlana Umanska and the difference between the experiences decided their preliminary contest. Following Anush Grigoryan’s triumph, Sycheva also succeeded and made proud of her new nation.  

Kosovo’s Donjeta Sadiku earned medals and titles as junior and youth boxer at the EUBC European Boxing Championships and she competed in all of the major events excluding the Women’s World Boxing Championships. The Kosovan girl made her debut in the event and she gave in everything against Japan’s Ayaka Taguchi who joined their national team in 2019. Sadiku caught the taller Japanese boxer with a tough shot in the second round when the referee counted Taguchi. She was excellent in the third round and celebrated her well-deserved success, Kosovo’s first in the event’s history.

The quote of the day

“The welterweight is much better for me and I am happy that I tried myself in this category here in Istanbul. This preliminary bout was a great warm-up for me today and I have now a few days until my next fight. My Slovenian opponent was tall but I could manage this tactical job today,” said Poland’s experienced Aneta Rygielska after her successful contest.