36 boxers from 17 countries qualify for Paris 2024 Olympic Games on busy day of quarter-final action at European Games 2023
An action-packed day of boxing at the 2023 European Games in Krakow saw 36 men and women secure Olympic qualification as boxers from Turkey, France, Ireland, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Sweden, Belgium, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Croatia, Serbia, Denmark, Romania, Azerbaijan and Georgia all earned places for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Reigning Olympic champions, Busenaz Surmeneli of Turkey and Kellie Harrington of Ireland both earned the right to defend their titles in Paris where they will be joined by numerous other women that will be competing at their second or third Olympic Games, including multiple European and world medallists, Irma Testa of Italy and Stanimira Petrova of Bulgaria, along with 2016 Olympic champion, Estelle Mossely of France.
An absorbing men’s contest saw 16 boxers secure a place in Paris including the home nation’s three-time World champion, Sofiane Oumiha, reigning European champion, Vasile Usturoi of Belgium, Georgia’s rising star, Lasha Guruli, and Tokyo 2022 silver medallist, Oleksandr Khyzhniak among many others.
The action will continue on Friday 30 June 2023 when 8 more boxers will have the chance to secure Olympic qualification.
Petrova and Davison are first boxers to qualify for Paris
The day began with the women’s 54kg bantamweight category where Bulgaria’s Stanimira Petrova was looking to secure Olympic qualification for the third time. The Bulgarian used her technical skills to control the first round against Ireland’s Jennifer Lehane who replaced the European U22 Champion Niamh Fay in the team. Lehane attacked more in the second round but the 33-year-old Bulgarian proved too strong as she was awarded a unanimous victory on judges’ scorecards.
In the other 54kg contest, Great Britain’s Charley Davison dominated her quarter-final over Sweden’s Zehra Milli to secure a place at her second Olympic Games.
Previous Olympic champions progress at 60kg
In the women’s 60kg category, Ireland’s Kellie Harrington and Sweden’s Agnes Alexiusson knew each other well enough from previous competitions but the Irish superstar has won all of their encounters. The Swedish No.1 was quick in the early exchanges but the reigning Olympic champion from Ireland delivered a strong third round to win the contest by split decision.
In the other 60kg contests the 2016 Olympic champion, Estelle Mossely defeated Kosovo’s World Championship bronze medallist Donjeta Sadiku to qualify for Paris while Gizen Ozer of Turkey and Serbia’s Natalia Shadrina also secured victories.
Eccles and Hamori were motivated at the women’s welterweight
In the 66kg category, Great Britain’s Commonwealth Games winner Rosie Eccles defeated Ireland’s World and European Champion, Amy Broadhurst, in a hard-fought contest while Hungary’s Luca Hamori, a 22-year-old talent, overcame Luna Beeloo from the Netherlands.
Belgium earned two historic Olympic quotas
A great day for Belgium saw Oshin Derieuw return from the professional ranks to secure her nation’s first Olympic boxer since 1992 as she beat France’s Emilie Sonvico. She was joined later in the day by European Champion, Vasile Usturoi, who used his technical skills to overcome Denmark’s Frederik Lundgaard Jensen.
Guruli and Clancy impressed at the men’s light welterweight
Georgia’s Lasha Guruli has earned medals in all of his major championships in the recent two years and he moved down successfully to light welterweight (63.5kg) before the start of the European Games. The 27-year-old Georgian had the height advantage against Bulgaria’s multiple European Champion Radoslav Rosenov and his longer reach helped him to control the bout on his way to victory. The other qualifiers in this weight class were Hungary’s Richard Kovacs, Ireland’s Dean Patrick Clancy and France’s three-time World Champion, Sofiane Oumiha.
Khyzhniak had a narrow success and earned a quota at the light heavyweight
Ukraine’s Olympic Games silver medallist Oleksandr Khyzhniak made his debut at the light heavyweight (80kg) this year and arrived in Poland as one of the favourites. The powerful Ukrainian did not disappoint as he defeated Ireland’s Kelyn Cassidy. In the other light-heavyweight contests, Croatia’s Gabrijel Veocic defeated Estonia’s last remaining boxer, Stiven Aas to secure a place in Paris. The pair will be joined in Paris by Azerbaijan’s Murad Allahverdiyev and Salvatore Cavallaro of Italy.
The Turkish girls shined in the sixth day of boxing
Turkey has been one of the best performing nation’s so far at the European Games and its boxers continued to perform well. In the women’s 60kg category, Gizem Ozer, became their first boxer to qualify as she defeated Ukraine’s Hanna Okhrei. She was followed shortly afterwards by Turkey’s reigning Olympic Champion, Busenaz Surmeneli, in the welterweight (66kg) division. In the 50kg category she was joined by Olympic silver medallist Busenaz Cakiroglu who demonstrated her brilliant technique against Poland’s Natalia Rok in the battle of the southpaw boxers. World Champion, Hatice Akbas topped a fine day for Tukey’s women as she secured a place in Paris with a win over Italy’s Sirine Charaabi at bantamweight (54kg).
Laura Fuertes and Jose Quiles are Spain’s Paris Olympians
A good day for Spain saw its boxers build on recent successes. At bantamweight, 2022 World medallist, Laura Fuertes, defeated Portugal’s Rita Soares. In the men’s featherweight division, Jose Quiles, secured revenge over Georgia’s, Artyush Gomtsyan, to earn a place in Paris and avenge his loss from the final of the 2022 European Boxing Championships.
The Italian aces will return to the Olympic Games
After securing a place in Tokyo at the age of 20, Italy’s Giordana Sorrentino has matured into one of the best boxers in the women’s light-flyweight division and secured her place as a second Olympic Games with a win over Nina Radovanovic of Serbia. She will be joined in Paris by Tokyo silver medallist and reigning European champion, Irma Testa, who defeated Spain’s Jennifer Fernandez in a one-sided featherweight (57kg) contest.
Nebil Ibrahim and Nikolai Terteryan are the Nordic heroes of the day
On a day which saw boxers from 17 countries secure places at the 2024 Olympic Games there was also success for the Nordic countries as Sweden’s Nebil Ibrahim overcame Hungary’s European Championships bronze medallist, Roland Veres, in the featherweight division and Denmark’s Nikolai Terteryan defeated Albania’s, Alban Beqiri, to qualify at light-middleweight (71kg).
The quotes of the day
“I am so excited after today’s success, I have worked for this moment since my childhood. We analysed my Serbian opponent with my coach, and we prepared with the best strategy. I was able to keep full concentration until the last seconds against such a talented opponent. My little son motivated me so much, he watched the bout at home and I was planning to make him proud.”
Richard Kovacs, Hungary, light welterweight (63.5kg)
“I am really happy with this contest, it was a really good quarter-final with my Turkish opponent. He is very tough but we selected the right tactics with my coaches today and I can box for the Olympic quota against Poland’s Bereznicki. I will be more aggressive than ever because I want the Olympic place for Paris at all costs.”
Aziz Abbes Mouhiidine, Italy, heavyweight (92kg)
The draw and all results at the European Games 2023 can be viewed at – https://results.european-games.org/EG2023/ENG/schedule/BOX/2023-06-24/all-event
All actions can be viewed live here – https://europeangames.tv/sports/boxing
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