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Serbia’s Sara Cirkovic finally won her first European title in Sofia after her silver medals

All of the 352 contests finished in the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria where the afternoon session of the eighth competition day celebrated 12 champions. The best female boxer of the championship is Sara Cirkovic of Serbia while the best male athlete is Enriko Itauma of England.

Turkey, France, Germany, Italy, Ukraine, Ireland, Azerbaijan, England, Armenia, and Bulgaria earned the first thirteen gold medals in the afternoon session and Greece, Georgia, Serbia, Romania and Norway joined to them in the evening session. Ukraine achieved five gold medals in this edition ahead of England’s four and Ireland’s three titles.

Altogether 377 attended in the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships in Sofia, which made the event busy and high quality. Boxers who were born in 2004 and in 2005 were eligible to attend in the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships in Sofia. The Bulgarian Boxing Federation hosted the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships in 2019 last time and after three years, the event returned to Sofia.

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

Albania’s last year’s bronze medallist Arjol Zeneli eliminated the defending champion, Rafael Lozano Serrano of Spain still in the preliminary stage, and continued his winning path against Slovakia’s Lukas Vymyslicky and Moldova’s EUBC European Junior Champion Ilie Argatu. Zeneli met for the title with Georgia’s Gor Ayvazyan who had more international contests and tried to keep his Albanian opponent on short in the first round. The Albanian flyweight (51kg) boxer was not enough quick in the opening three minutes but he tried to do his previous level in the second round. Ayvazyan was a hard opponent, he had great double defence in the contest and found the best strategy against the previously shining Albanian. 

The surprise of the day

Italy’s Gabriele Guidi Rontani eliminated favourites during his road to the final of the men’s light middleweight (71kg). The Italian met with Ireland’s Flood Duggan who walked over to the final following his opponent from Montenegro was overweight in the weigh-in of the semi-finals. Both boxers are tall in this weight class and had to change their previous tactics to keep their opponents on long. The Irish boxer looked fresh in the first round and gained the control against the strong Italian. The referee counted Rontani twice in the second part of their final left the situation without any doubt, Duggan earned gold medal for Ireland.

The Round-Up

Slovakia’s Bibiana Lovasova eliminated the last year’s silver medallist, Kevser Tutuncu of Turkey in the semi-finals of the bantamweight (54kg) and met with England’s Emily Whitworth for the title. The Slovakian girl was patient in the first round against her English opponent and used different tactic as in the semi-finals. The smaller English boxer found her tempo in the middle of the first round and landed a few effective combinations which reached the target. Whitworth reduced the fighting distance in the second and third minutes but Lovasova changed her strategy in the beginning of the next round. The English overcame the Slovakian more times in the second following she knew the perfect options against the taller Lovasova. Whitworth also spends her first year in the youth age group but she won this tactical final looked as an experienced boxer.

Greece’s Michail Tsamalidis is a new sensation at the light heavyweight (80kg) who destroyed all of his opponents this year. The Adriatic Pearl Youth Tournament winner Greek boxer stopped Italy’s Tiziano Isiah Marcy and Turkey’s Muhammed Halil Dogru in the previous stages of the championship. Tsamilidis met for his first title with Armenia’s Hamlet Adamyan who eliminated Serbia’s Marko Pizurica in the last four. Tsamalidis started the first round relatively slowly in comparison to his previous contests but the Greek hope turned up the heat in the beginning of the second round. Tsamalidis knew when to launch his shots and his perfect timing in the attacks guaranteed advantage for him after six minutes of boxing. Antonia Giannakopoulou claimed gold medal for Greece in the last 2021 edition of the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships and Tsamalidis is their next champion in this age group. 

Ukraine’s Aider Abduraimov claimed gold medal at the bantamweight (54kg) in the Budva 2021 EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships and moved up to the featherweight (57kg) in the recent months. The Ukrainian had a very tough semi-final but he survived that round in Sofia and he looked more focused in the final against Germany’s Arian Gohar Shenason Esfahani. The taller German could not use his distance well enough and Abduraimov landed the stronger punches besides to his speed advantage. The Ukrainian controlled all of the three rounds in Sofia and defended his European youth title.

Georgia’s EUBC European Junior Champion Demur Kajaia eliminated his main rival, Hungary’s Rafael Buza in the quarter-finals of the light welterweight (63.5kg) and he had a clear success in the last four. Kajaia met in the final with Moldova’s Ianus Caravan who competed at the 2019 EUBC Junior European Boxing Championships in Galati and returned to the national team after a break. Kajaia’s hands were down but his outstanding footwork guaranteed that he could be untouchable for the Moldovan boxer. The Georgian boxer trusted on his counter-punches and found the best attacking angles to win his next European title and the first in the youth age group.

Romania’s Florin Ionita is 198cm tall and defeated his opponents using his height advantage managing his way to the final of the heavyweight (92kg). The Romanian boxer met with a similar tall English rival, Youth National Champion Damar Thomas who eliminated a top rival, Sweden’s Elwin Belezika in the last four. Thomas used his jabs better in the first round and he was quicker in the attacks in the next period during the final of the giants. The English southpaw was confident after two rounds and danced through the ring in the third claiming his nation’s fourth golf medal in Sofia.

Serbia’s strong Sara Cirkovic was silver medallists in the 2020 EUBC Junior European Boxing Championships and in the 2021 EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships. The 18-year-old Serbian eliminated Spain’s Iratxe Del Valle in the semi-finals of the light flyweight (50kg) and met for the gold with Germany’s Jessica Vollmann. The German southpaw moved a lot on feet to avoid the Serbian attacks in the first round but Cirkovic increased her tempo in the beginning of the second. Cirkovic caught her technician German rival with stronger punches in the second round and she won her first European title and made historical steps for her country.

Romania’s Crinuta Andra Sebe is a strong fighter who had great road to the finals of the women’s welterweight (66kg) in Sofia. Sebe was silver medallist in the Tbilisi 2021 EUBC Junior European Boxing Championships which she changed to gold this time. The Romanian has put on a lot of muscle in the recent months and her strength resulted a quick RSC success in Sofia, stopping Poland’s Aleksandra Jankowiak. Norway’s defending champion Sunniva Hofstad eliminated her main rival, England’s Amber Moss-Birch in the semi-finals and she won the final by walk over following her opponent, Georgia’s Tatia Bukia was not able to box in the last competition day.

Ukraine’s Polina Chernenko won the heaviest weight class at the Tbilisi 2021 EUBC Junior European Boxing Championships and joined to the youth boxers three and half months ago. The Ukrainian had the height and weight advantages against Ireland’s Cliona D’Arcy but her opponent was patient and quicker in the first round. D’Arcy did not land too much punches but she countered and responded to the Ukrainian attacks in time. The Irish heavyweight (+81kg) boxer found the way between Chernenko’s gloves with fast jabs and she produced an amazing finish in the second round. D’Arcy was still fresh enough in the final round to win her nation’s third gold medal in the championship.

The quote of the evening session

“This is my first ever international tournament and I won the gold medal in my weight class. I knew that my final Slovakian opponent is southpaw and our strategy was based on this. This is my first big title but I am ready to the next one,” said England’s Emily Whitworth after the final contest against Slovakia’s Bibiana Lovasova.