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Sadiku and Fuertes made their nations proud in Istanbul

The preliminaries finished at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul, Turkey with the seventh competition day. Kosovo’s Donjeta Sadiku and Spain’s Laura Fuertes became the heroes of their countries in the last day of preliminaries.

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), flyweight (52kg), bantamweight (54kg), lightweight (60kg), light welterweight (63kg) and welterweight (66kg) were in action at the seventh day of boxing. The IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships will continue with the most anticipated part, the quarter-finals tomorrow.

The bout of the day

Italy’s Assunta Canfora moved down from the middleweight (75kg) to the light welterweight (63kg) during the previous months which was the result of her hard work to find the best category for herself. The Italian boxer had a powerful South American rival, Venezuela’s Omailyn Alcala who could not box in the international stage too much during the Covid-19 period. The Venezuelan is a strong puncher therefore Canfora tried to be quicker in the exchanges and moved all the time without any stoppage to find the best angles. The Italian proved smart boxing today and her strong tactics paid off in the afternoon session.

The Round-Up

Croatia’s first ever female Olympian boxer is Nikolina Cacic who is only 21 but she has dozens of international contests during her career. The Croatian decided to move down to the flyweight (52kg) this time and she had the massive height advantage against Ireland’s Carly McNaul. The Commonwealth Games silver medallist Irish girl reduced the fighting range successfully and her pressure worked well in their bout. McNaul has been preparing for the Commonwealth Games but she is in top form already and solved her tactical task today advancing to the quarter-finals.

Romania’s Lacramioara Perijoc bowed out the defending AIBA Women’s World Champion Huang Hsiao Wen of Chinese Taipei causing a huge sensation a few days ago. The Romanian boxer is the EUBC European Champion from 2019 and she met the annual EUBC European U22 Champion today, Ireland’s Niamh Fay. The nine-years-younger Irish was one of the secret favourites of this weight class and she started their bout in impressive rhythm. After the opening round, Perijoc’s pressure paid off and she landed more punches to turn back their bout which was a good promotion for women’s boxing. The final verdict was split decision in the favour of Perijoc who eliminated her second favourite rival.

Turkey’s EUBC European U22 Champion Hatice Akbas moved up to the bantamweight (54kg) after this success which she achieved in Porec. The 21-year-old Turkish girl is still taller than many of her rivals in this category too and she kept the safest distance against Armenia’s Ekaterina Sycheva who switched from Russia just before the start of the championship. Sycheva has 14 years of experience in the sport earning several medals in the Russian National Championships but Akbas was too quick for her today and the Turkish boxer’s counter-shots decided their contest.

Bulgaria’s Stanimira Petrova is AIBA Women’s World Champion and EUBC European Women’s Champion who met a promising young Polish opponent, Wiktoria Rogalinska at the bantamweight (54kg). The Bulgarian was patient and waited for the attacks of the Polish girl but Rogalinska also used the same tactics therefore the crowd followed a great chess game. Petrova felt that she needed to get control and landed more shots from closer distance against the 21-year-old Polish. The Bulgarian is one of the stars of the category and she could change her strategy to win this contest and remain unbeaten in 2022.

Netherlands’ Chelsey Heijnen earned her first big achievement in the 2017 EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships where she reached the top of the podium. The 23-year-old girl is the only boxer from her nation in this championship but she spent less than two rounds on these contests in Istanbul. Heijnen moved up to the light welterweight (63kg) this year and her physical condition is at the peak level now. She stopped her first Bolivian opponent a few days ago and she destroyed her next opponent, Senegal’s Mariatou Diallo. Heijnen demoralized the African boxer and after the second standing count, the referee confirmed her RSC success still in the first round.

Spain sent five boxers to the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships and their last hope, Laura Fuertes stepped into the ring in the evening session. Fuertes won her last preparation tournament and she started well against Bulgaria’s Zlatislava Chukanova who returned to the national team after a short break. Fuertes had strong motivation in the first and second rounds and she was a hard target for the Bulgarian boxer. The 23-year-old Spaniard worked from a longer distance and she landed her counter-shots with excellent timing therefore Fuertes can prepare for the quarterfinal as the first from her nation.

Kosovo’s Donjeta Sadiku began her career with a silver medal at the 2015 AIBA Women’s Junior World Boxing Championships. She competed all levels of boxing but this event is her first Elite World Championships during her career. The Kosovan lightweight (60kg) boxer not only defeated her first rival in Istanbul but she succeeded in her second against DR Congo’s Jocelyne Tshamala. The Kosovan boxer controlled the opening round and she was able to keep her level until the last bell which means Sadiku is the first from her nation who advanced to the quarter-finals in the history of the event.

The quotes of the day

“I had a tough job today as my Croatian opponent was taller than me and I used an aggressive tactic to win this contest. My coaches did not tell me that Cacic was an Olympian boxer, I just tried to do my best. I will try to relax a bit before my most important contest,” said Ireland’s Carly McNaul after her second success in Istanbul.

“My Polish opponent was very good, she developed a lot since the last event. As she was also a defensive boxer like me, I had to move forward more than I planned. I am fresh, and ready for tomorrow’s quarter-final when I have to be on top form to get a medal in Istanbul,” added Bulgaria’s Stanimira Petrova.