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Switzerland’s Ana Marija Milisic eliminated a favourite at the Balkan Women’s Tournament opener

One of the last preparation events for the upcoming EUBC European Women’s Elite Boxing Championships, the Balkan Women’s Tournament opened with 15 contests in Bulgaria’s capital, in Sofia. Among the stars of the event, Italy’s Irma Testa opened her campaign with a tight success but Switzerland’s Ana Marija Milisic was the main sensation of the day.

Next to the European countries, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Canada and Chinese Taipei also sent their women boxers to the international event.

The Bulgarian Boxing Federation hosted the prestigious Strandja Memorial Tournament, the Emil Jechev Youth Memorial Tournament and the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships earlier in 2022. Their fourth international event this year is the 8th Balkan Women’s Tournament which has the tradition since 2015.  

The new edition of the Balkan Women’s Tournament are holding only for the elite boxers in order to give chance for them to prepare for the main championships. The Balkan Women’s Tournament could be also a strong preparation for the Asian boxers before their ASBC Asian Elite Boxing Championships.

The bout of the day

Italy’s Irma Testa is a fantastic boxer and following her several titles, finally she was able to get a silver medal at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul. The 25-year-old Italian is planning to defend her throne in Europe next month and after a few months of break she competes at the Balkan Women’s Tournament. Testa started relatively slowly against her young English opponent, Elise Glynn who reached her first highlight, a gold at the 2017 EUBC European Women’s Junior Boxing Championships. The 21-year-old English was highly competitive for Testa in the seventh bout of the competition and the Italian had to increase her rhythm. Testa used also her longer reach and tried different tactics which guaranteed her success over the well-progressed English girl.

The surprise of the day

Switzerland’s best female boxer of the recent one and half decades, Sandra Brugger has retired due to the age limit. Their new national boxer at the lightweight (60kg) is Ana Marija Milisic who has international experiences but she was not the favourite against Uzbekistan’s Youth World Boxing Championships silver medallist Mokhinabonu Abdullayeva. The Swiss girl wanted to keep the distance against the young Uzbek star and she was better in the exchanges in the first and second rounds. Milisic delivered the main surprise of the day with the elimination of the Uzbek girl in Sofia.

The Round-Up

Finland’s Emma Jokiaho is not an experienced boxer yet but their coaches selected her to participate at the Balkan Women’s Tournament. She claimed a silver medal at the Nordic Boxing Championships a few months ago but her development are continuous. Jokiaho faced a new Canadian national team member, Nyousha Nakhjiri who earned a bronze medal at the Eindhoven Box Cup on her first European event. The Finnish boxer had strong shots in the first round and she was able to share her power well enough to beat the Canadian at the bantamweight (54kg).

France’s Wassila Lkhadiri earned a bronze medal already at the 2014 EUBC European Women’s Boxing Championships at the age of 19. The French girl took part in several top events in the 2010s but she was not enough active in the recent two years. Lkhadiri returned to the national team and the Balkan Women’s Tournament is her first major milestone. The 27-year-old French came back with a tight success, she eliminated England’s Tori-Ellis Willetts at the flyweight (52kg).

Bulgaria’s Svetlana Kamenova made a fantastic return to the international events this year, she won the Strandja Memorial Tournament and several other competitions. Kamenova failed to get a medal at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships but she is in top shape and opened her campaign at the Balkan Women’s Tournament with an easy triumph. The 32-year-old Bulgarian used her patient and smart style of boxing against Chinese Taipei’s Chang Chia Hsun in their featherweight (57kg) bout. Kamenova controlled all of the three rounds and she was better in technical and tactical skills.

Kosovo’s Tokyo Olympian and former EUBC European Youth Champion Donjeta Sadiku earned a historic bronze at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. She is a tough boxer, she is the best female boxer in her country and a medal favourite in the upcoming EUBC European Women’s Elite Boxing Championships. The 23-year-old Kosovan used the best tactics against France’s powerful Maiva Hamadouche and she did not let her opponent too close. Following’s Sadiku’s success, England’s Shona Whitwell used her longer reach to beat Finland’s Johanna Huttunen at the lightweight (60kg).

The quote of the day

“It was not an easy contest as an opening at the Balkan Women’s Tournament but I succeeded. My coach told me after the bout that I beat the silver medallist from the last Youth World Boxing Championships. I did not know that but I feel very blessed and proud. I will fight with a very tough girl today but I will try to do my best. I will do whatever I can but I think Sadiku is more experienced than me,” said Switzerland’s Ana Marija Milisic after her surprise success.