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Stonkute and Cakiroglu are the heroes of the semi-finals

Eleven European boxers advanced to the finals of the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul, Turkey today. Twenty-four bouts delighted the crowd on the ninth competition day when Turkey, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Lithuania and Romania secured their final places. Turkey’s Busenaz Cakiroglu won the bout of the day while Lithuania’s Gabriele Stonkute turned back her semi-finals.

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.

The bout of the day

Turkey’s European Games winner and defending EUBC European Champion Busenaz Cakiroglu was silver medallist in the last Women’s World Boxing Championships therefore her target was clear. Fuertes caught Cakiroglu on the ropes with a heavy shot in the middle of the first round but the Turkish boxer’s technical skills controlled most of the exchanges. The virtuoso Turkish boxer increased her speed in the beginning of the second round as she felt that she needed to show more from her excellent boxing knowledge. She used the same technique several times which was effective against the developed Spaniard today.

The surprise of the day

Lithuania’s Gabriele Stonkute is a 21-year-old talent who earned her nation’s first ever medal in the history of the Women’s World Boxing Championships. The Lithuanian was not able to reduce the fighting range against Turkey’s veteran Elif Guneri in the first round and her tall rival had the advantage on the judges’ scorecards. Stonkute has a strong heart and amazing stamina therefore her pressure paid off from the second round in Istanbul. The exhausted Turkish boxer could not stop the powerful Lithuanian attacks anymore and Stonkute continued this historical performance in Istanbul. The Lithuanian youngster will be boxing for the title with one of her neighbours, Poland’s 20-year-old Oliwia Toborek for the gold medal of the light heavyweight (81kg).

The Round-Up

Turkey’s Ayse Cagirir replaced EUBC European U22 Champion Erivan Barut in the national team at the minimumweight (48kg) following she returned to the competitions. Cagirir participated in several events between 2014 and 2019 but she was not active enough during the Covid-19 period. The Turkish girl had strong heart in the whole championship and not only advanced to the semi-finals but she defeated Argentina’s AMBC American Elite Champion Aldana Florencia Lopez. Her South American opponent is their first medallist in the championship since 2006 but Cagirir won two rounds against her today.

Italy’s Irma Testa is the defending EUBC European Champion at the featherweight (57kg) and she is aiming for her first world title in Istanbul. Testa defeated India’s Manisha Moun at the Thailand Open International Boxing Tournament one month ago but both performed better in this championship than in Phuket during their preparations to Istanbul. Four out of the five judges favoured Testa after three minutes and the Italian was more confident in the second when she worked more from longer distance. The experienced Italian started the third round with excellent uppercuts and she dominated their re-match in the competition which means she can box for the title with the World Champion of the New Delhi edition, Lin Yu Ting of Chinese Taipei.

Ireland’s two-time EUBC U22 European Champion Amy Broadhurst was confident during her road to the semi-finals of the light welterweight (63kg) and she opened the first round against India’s Parveen in style. Ireland has two semi-finalists in the championship and among them Broadhurst was the first in action at the afternoon session. The 25-year-old Irish girl had the advantage against the younger Indian after three minutes but Parveen returned to the contest in the second with effective shots. The Irish found her rhythm once again in this hectic bout and won the semi-final by split decision which means she can box against Algeria’s star Imane Khelif.

Ireland’s second semi-finalist was Lisa O’Rourke who achieved a gold medal at the 2022 EUBC U22 European Boxing Championships and celebrated her 20th birthday during the competition. The Irish light middleweight (70kg) boxer was in shape today and she used her reach better than Turkey’s Sema Caliskan. O’Rourke delivered her best ever performance in time and the experienced Turkish was not able to find the good strategy against the Irish youngster. O’Rourke secured her place in the final as second Irish boxer after Broadhurst and will be boxing for the title with Mozambique’s Alcinda Panguane.

Romania’s reigning EUBC European Women’s Champion at the bantamweight (54kg), Lacramioara Perijoc eliminated three top boxers during her road to the semi-finals in Istanbul. The Romanian boxer dictated the tempo of her semi-final against Kazakhstan’s Dina Zholaman and proved an impressive first round, launching dozens of attacks. Perijoc put the Kazakh under pressure and Zholaman was not able to deliver the same level today due to the Romanian boxer’s effectiveness. Perijoc marched to the final for the first time in such a huge championship and will be meeting for the title with Turkey’s EUBC European U22 Champion Hatice Akbas who used a similar style of boxing as Cakiroglu.

Turkey’s Olympic Games winner Busenaz Surmeneli had a tough quarter-final against Uzbekistan’s Navbakhor Khamidova but finally she stopped her opponent. The defending World Champion had another Asian opponent in the next stage of boxing, Thailand’s Janjaem Suwannapheng who developed in terms of strength and physical condition. Surmeneli received strong support from the local crowd which she needed against the promising Thai boxer. The Turkish turned up the heat in the second part of the bout and she won the difficult semi-final which means she can box against Canada’s Charlie Cavanagh in the final of the welterweight (66kg).

The quotes of the day

“This was almost a perfect performance today. I felt in the warm-up area that I am a beast, strong and concentrated today. I wanted this final so much and I knew my Indian opponent well as it was our third meeting. All of these contests were totally different but I won once again. I have never met Lin Yu Ting yet but I am looking forward our final in Istanbul,” said Italy’s Irma Testa after her semi-final.

“I did not expected that I could make the final in this championship but this is something so fantastic. I tried to follow the strategy for today and my coaches said that I made it 100%,” added Ireland’s Lisa O’Rourke.