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Slovakia’s Bibiana Lovasova caused the sensation of the semi-finals at the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships

The fifty amazing semi-final contests were held in the seventh competition day at the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. The winners advanced to the finals of the championships and only the 50 boxers remained in actions. Besides to the top boxing nations, Albania, Slovakia, Latvia, Norway, Serbia and Greece have finalists in the competition too.

Altogether 402 boxers registered from 40 nations to the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships and among them 377 arrived to Sofia, which made the event busy and high quality. The Bulgarian Boxing Federation hosted the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships in 2019 last time and after three years, the event returned to Sofia.

Boxers who were born in 2004 and in 2005 are eligible to attend in the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships in Sofia. The 2021 edition introduced the new youth weight categories, the girls attended in 12 while the boys in 13 different weight classes in Montenegro and the schedule is the same in Sofia too.

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

One of the most anticipated contests were held between Armenia’s Erik Israyelyan and Georgia’s Gocha Gordulava in the semi-finals of the men’s lightweight (60kg). The Armenian boxer stopped all of his previous three rivals in Sofia in the first minutes but Gordulava was more competitive due to his level of experiences. Israyelyan took the lead on the scorecards after three minutes but the Georgian moved forward more in the second round. The Armenian boxer moved more on feet and he had the right response to the tactical change and advanced to the final of this strong category. His final opponent will be Bulgaria’s Toni Iliev who had a hectic bout against Greece’s Stefanos Oikonomou.

The surprise of the day

Slovakia’s Bibiana Lovasova was near to get a medal at the Tbilisi 2021 EUBC Junior European Boxing Championships as a newcomer in the national team. The Slovakian girl moved up to the youth age group this January but she looked more stronger than in her competitions as a junior. Lovasova used an excellent strategy against the last year’s silver medallist, Kevser Tutuncu of Turkey. The Slovakian bantamweight (54kg) boxer had excellent and quick combinations which guaranteed her surprise success and a chance to fight against England’s Emily Whitworth for the title.

The Round-Up

Bulgaria’s Lyuboslav Metodiev is well-known in the international competitions since 2019 and he had a strong preparation for this EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships. The Bulgarian bantamweight (54kg) boxer met in the semi-finals with North Macedonia’s Petar Arsovski who lives and trains in Sofia. The North Macedonian boxer is only 17 and reached his career highlight with that semi-final place in the championship but he had a brave attempt to beat Metodiev today. The Bulgarian used his virtuoso style of boxing and his footwork decided their semi-final contest delivered the host nation’s first final place. Metodiev’s final opponent will be England’s new sensation, Owen Ketley who bowed out Turkey’s Ahmet Pekel with impressive performance today.

Spain’s second semi-finalist was Ganda Coulibaly Socko is a surprise semi-finalist at the men’s welterweight (67kg) who worked hard in their national training centre to reach the level of the top boxers. The Spaniard used his long hands to keep the distance against Armenia’s Ares Hakobyan and tried to overcome his Caucasian rival in the attacks. Coulibaly had similar style of boxing as their elite national team member, Youba Ndiaye Sissokho but he does not have enough experiences yet. Hakobyan managed the second part of the contest in Sofia and reached the final of the weight class where his last opponent is Ukraine’s No.1, Oleksiy Boklakh.

Spain’s Laura Barcelo claimed bronze medal in the 2021 EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships and arrived to Sofia to do it better in his second participation in the history of the competition. The Spaniard met with a younger opponent, Georgia’s Tamar Samelia who joined from the junior age group this January. Barcelo won international tournaments before the start of the championship and she moved ahead despite of her height advantage. The Spanish talent tried to control all of the exchanges against the smaller Georgian boxer and she worked well enough to win their semi-final in Sofia. Barcelo’s final opponent will be Turkey’s Filiz Isik who eliminated Ireland’s Georgia Dunn with energetic attacks.

France’s new sensation at the men’s middleweight (75kg) is Yojerlin Cesar who achieved silver medal at the 2020 EUBC Junior European Boxing Championships and advanced to the semi-finals in Sofia with excellent performance. The 18-year-old French met with Ukraine’s EUBC European Junior Champion Oleksandr Balabin in a brilliant semi-final contest which delighted the crowd. Cesar has longer hands than many of his opponents which he combines with quick attacks but Balabin responded with tough shots too. The Ukrainian was slightly better in the exchanges in the decisive third round and he can now meet for the title with Serbia’s promising Rastko Simic.

One of the top Ukrainian female hopes, Veronika Nakota won the title of the EUBC Junior European Boxing Championships and joined to the youth age group this January. Her semi-final opponent at the light middleweight (70kg) had the same career route, Hungary’s Nikolett Kovacs is also new among the youth boxers. The Ukrainian trained in Hungary before the start of this championship and she had sparring against Kovacs therefore both knew each other. The taller Ukrainian received punches from the Hungarian boxer only in the first round and she used her distance well enough to win their semi-final contest. Nakota will be meeting for the title of the championship with Ireland’s Laura Moran.

Ireland’s Dearbhla Tinnelly had a strong pedigree before the start of the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships as she has already four years of international experiences. She claimed silver medal at the 2018 EUBC European Schoolgirls Boxing Championships and she returned to the international stage as all of her teammates after a short break. The experienced Irish met with Norway’s Sofia Sigen Sorensen in a fantastic semi-final bout at the light heavyweight (81kg). The Norwegian won international tournaments in the recent months but Tinnelly was smarted today than the Northern European boxer.

Albania’s 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. Zeneli is proud of his family to their previous successes in boxing, and tried to follow the traditions in Sofia. The Albanian flyweight (51kg) boxer had a tough semi-final opponent, Moldova’s EUBC European Junior Champion Ilie Argatu. Zeneli proved better performance in the first round than in his recent two contests and he could still increase his tempo step by step. The Albanian won his third-in-a-row bout in Sofia and will now face with Georgia’s Gor Ayvazyan in the final of the category.

Moldova’s third semi-finalist, Ianus Caravan competed at the 2019 EUBC Junior European Boxing Championships in Galati but he was not involved to their national team last year when he spent his first year among the youth boxers. The Moldovan light welterweight (63.5kg) boxer exceeded all of the expectations with his performance in Sofia and not only earned a guaranteed medal, but he defeated Latvia’s Renats Sarovs in the sem-finals. The referee counted the Latvian and Caravan’s motivational level was seriously high to win this contest in Sofia. Caravan will be facing for the title with the main favourite, Georgia’s EUBC European Junior Champion Demur Kajaia.

Greece’s Michail Tsamalidis is a new sensation at the light heavyweight (80kg) who destroyed all of his opponent’s defence this year. First, he won the Adriatic Pearl Youth Tournament where he defeated the Cuban No.1 and all other top boxers in Montenegro. The Greek boxer stopped Italy’s Tiziano Isiah Marcy winning the quarter-final by RSC and he continued that winning path against Turkey’s Muhammed Halil Dogru. Tsamilidis controlled the first round and he has done impressive job in the second when the referee stopped their semi-final. The Greek talent will be boxing for the gold medal of the event with Armenia’s Hamlet Adamyan who eliminated Serbia’s Marko Pizurica.   

England’s Damar Thomas is their new Youth National Champion at the heavyweight (92kg) who spent the recent two years to build up his technical skills. The 192cm tall English boxer had to meet with a dangerous rival, Sweden’s Elwin Belezika who has also excellent physical skills. The Swedish boxer has just joined to the international events only in 2021 but his strength guaranteed his place in the last four. The English talent used his longer hands to stop the Swedish attacks and took the lead on the scorecards after three minutes. Belezika was not an easy opponent but Thomas won their contest by split decision and marched to the finals.

Serbia’s 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 had a clear target in Sofia, to achieve her first European title after these two silvers. Cirkovic worked well against Spain’s Iratxe Del Valle and took the lead on the scorecards after three minutes. The Serbian light flyweight (50kg) boxer controlled the three rounds and she can prepare now to her third-in-a-row European finals. This time her last opponent will be Germany’s Jessica Vollmann who had a nice triumph over Ireland’s Katie O’Keefe.

Norway’s Sunniva Hofstad is the defending champion at the women’s middleweight (75kg) who had a quick success in the quarter-finals in Sofia. The powerful Norwegian could expect a more difficult contest against England’s Amber Moss-Birch who is also EUBC European Champion as schoolgirl from 2019. The English girl was competitive in the first round but Hofstad turned up the heat in the beginning of the second and produced a much better period. The Norwegian destroyed Moss-Birch’s defence in the third round and remained her chance alive to win her second European youth title.

The quote of the day

“I trained a lot to achieve something in this EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships but I did not expect that I can box for the title. I was trying to follow my coaches’ instructions, they told me to move a lot on feet, land quick punches, then move back. I am so happy that I could win this semi-final with smart boxing. I hope I made proud of my family and my country today,” commented her success Slovakia’s happy girl, Bibiana Lovasova.

The live streaming in the eighth competition day

You can follow all of the Day8 actions LIVE from the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships Sofia 2022 in the YouTube channel of the European Boxing Confederation: