AIBA World Championship 2017

By Cain Bradley on September 3, 2017
AIBA World Championship 2017
A few British fighters could argue they were a tad unlucky but have potential for Tokyo.

The AIBA World Championship saw 20 nations take home a medal, including Cameron, Mongolia, Germany, Georgia and Armenia…

AIBA on their website have tried to promote this as a tournament where “newer” boxing nations succeeded. It saw 20 nations take home a medal, including Cameron, Mongolia, Germany, Georgia and Armenia. The three recent powerhouses of amateur boxing were dominant in Cuba, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. A few British fighters could argue they were a tad unlucky but have potential for Tokyo.

Light Flyweight (-49kg)
It was the rematch that everyone wanted to see. Joahnys Argilagos (Cuba) came up against Hasanboy Dusmatov (Uzbekistan) in the final. Argilagos won a split decision over Dusmatov although may, including me, thought Dusmatov triumphed. It was Yurberjen Martinez (Colombia) and Zhomart Yerzhan (Kazakhstan) who won the bronze medals. Oscar Collazo (Puerto Rico) came close, with a split decision against Argilagos. Other losers in the early round Vasilii Egorov (Russia), Gankhuyagiin Gan-Erdene (Mongolia), Gamal Yafai (England) and Carlos Quipo (Ecuador).

Flyweight (-52kg)
One of the more open weight classes went the way of the favourite, Cuban Yosbany Veitia (Cuba). In the final he beat the unseeded Jasurbek Latipov (Uzbekistan). Latipov is only competing because of an injury to Olympic champion Shahobiddin Zoirov (Uzbekistan). Also missing were Muhammad Ali (England), Hu Jianguan (China) and Joel Finol (Venezuela). Latipov beat the second and seventh seeds in Ceiber Avila (Colombia) and Daniel Asenov (Bulgaria). The bronze medalists were Ink-Yu Kim (South Korea) and Tamir Galanov (Russia).

Bantamweight (-56kg)
Four years after winning a bronze, Kairat Yeraliyev (Kazakhstan) won a shock gold medal. Only one of the four medalists was a seeded fighter. That was Peter McGrail (England), the Liverpudlian who was arguably very unlucky in his semi final against Yeraliyev. On the other half of the draw, young American Duke Ragan (United States of America) who turns 20 soon came through including beating Javier Ibanez (Cuba) and the number two seed Zhang Jiawei (China). In the semi final he overcame Gaurav Bidhuri (India). Alberto Melian (Argentina) went down to Bilel Mhamdi (Tunisia) while McGrail edged Leonel de Los Santos (Dominican Republic) in one of the fights of the tournament.

Lightweight (-60kg)
The lightweight division mainly saw the cream of the crop rise to the occasion. The final saw the number one and two clash. Sofiane Oumiha (France) was probably fortunate in taking a split decision victory over Lazaro Alvarez (Cuba) despite the Cuban applying effective pressure. Alvarez was looking for his fourth world title to match Juan Hernandez Sierra and came on in the later stages of the bout. In the semi finals, Oumiha edged Otgondalai Dorjnyambuu (Mongolia) in another fought bout. Otar Eranosysn (Georgia) was the other bronze medalist, arguably producing the shock of the weight with a win over Elnur Abduraimov (Uzbekistan). In the European quarter of the draw, Oumiha defeated Iurii Shestak (Ukraine) who himself edged out Callum French (England) on a split decision.

Light Welterweight (-64kg)
Andy Cruz (Cuba), the number two seed, as predicted beforehand was the class of the tournament. Lorenzo Sotomayor (Azerbaijan), the Olympic silver medalist, lost his opening fight by split decision against Eslam El-Gendy. There was another finalist from Uzbekistan in Ikboljon Kholdarov (Uzbekistan) whose run included defeating Artem Harutyunyan (Germany) and Freudis Rojas (United States). Hovhannes Backhov (Armenia) also won a bronze medal. The best compliment to Andy Cruz was perhaps from second round opponent Sean McComb (Ireland) who tweeted “how the fuck was I ever supposed to hit him.” His accuracy, movement and intelligence was almost untouched and he has a real chance to claim to be the pound for pound number one.

Welterweight (-69kg)
The two stars in this weight made the final in Shakhram Giyasov (Uzbekistan) and Roniel Iglesias (Cuba), a repeat of the Rio Olympic final. It was the flashy counter puncher, Giyasov who came out on top to add a world title to his Olympic gold. Giyasov was arguably lucky to reach the final. A lot of people believed Pat McCormack (England) beat him in the quarter finals and the semi final against Ablaikhan Zhussupov (Kazakhstan). His timing and ring generalship won that one for me though. The other semi final was also intriguing as aggressive Abbas Baraou (Germany) saw Iglesias really take it to him to win a split decision. Seeded fighters Parviz Baghirov (Azerbaijan) and Gabriel Maestre (Venezuela) were defeated by Byambyn Tuvshinbat (Mongolia) and Zhussupov respectively.

Middleweight (-75kg)
Two young boxers tipped for future success battled in the middleweight fighter as the youth movement showed itself to full effect. Oleksandr Khyzniak (Ukraine) swarmed his way to a victory with his high guard and powerful shots. Abilkhan Amankul (Kazakhstan) looked classier in the final but the pressure of Khyzniak got him the win as Amankul too often went back in straight lines. Amankul only turned 20 in July and defeated two Olympic medalists to get to the final. He beat Arlen Lopez (Cuba) in the quarter final and Kamran Shaksuvarly (Azerbaijan) in the semi final. The aggressive Khyzniak won split decisions against young prospects Ben Whittaker (England) and Troy Isley (United States of America). Isley had won his bronze medal before turning 19, defeating Hosam Abdin (Egypt) and Israil Madrimov (Uzbekistan). Whittaker at only 20 defeated third seed Vikas Yadav (India). Max van der Pas (Netherlands) and Jorge Vivas (Colombia) also came close to winning medals, only losing split decisions to Shaksuvarly.

Light Heavyweight (-81kg)
This weight went pretty much how it was expected. The four top seeds were the four medalists and seven of the top eight seeds made the quarter final. Michel Borges (Brazil) was the seed that did not make it, losing to Shabbos Negmatulloev (Tajikistan). The other shock according to the seeds was Joe Ward (Ireland) defeating Bektemir Melikuziev (Uzbekistan) to reach the final and win his second silver medal. Julio Cesar La Cruz (Cuba) proved himself to be a step too good and arguably the best pound for pound amateur boxer. He defeated Carlos Mina (Ecuador) in the semi final before beating Ward.

Heavyweight (-91kg)
Erislandy Savon (Cuba) finally delivered on all his promise by winning gold. He had never a major global title until now but an impressive run here got him the title. He got split decision wins over Evgeny Tishchenko (Russia) and Vassily Levit (Kazakhstan) as well as stopping Cheavon Clarke (England). Fourth seed Yamil Peralta (Argentina) was shocked in his first fight by Sanjar Tursunov (Uzbekistan) who went on to win a bronze. Tishchenko had split decision wins over David Nyika (New Zealand) and Deivis Julio (Colombia).

Super Heavyweight (+91kg)
I predicted before the tournament that this weight was very open. It proved right as two unranked boxers made the final. One arguably was not a shock in Magomedrasul Majidov (Azerbaijan), a double world champion but has been out of form since that win in 2013. He added to his two world titles by beating Kamshybek Kunkabayev (Kazakhstan). Majidov defeated the two seeded boxers in his quarter Hussein Iashaish (Jordan) and highly rated Djamili-Dini Aboudou (France). In the semi final he defeated Joseph Goodall (Australia) who himself shocked Victor Vykhryst (Ukraine) and Maxim Babanin (Russia) to win a bronze medal. Kunkabayev took out the number one seed in Bakhodir Jalolov (Uzbekistan) by split decision and then beat arguably the form fighter of the tournament in Fokou Arsene (Cameroon) who won a bronze. As an Englishman, it was a shame to see Fraser Clarke (England) miss out through injury as he potentially would have won the tournament while Jose Larduet (Cuba) will no doubt believe similar.

Following the World Championships, my amateur pound for pound rankings would be:
1. Andy Cruz
2. Julio Cesar La Cruz
3. Robeisy Ramirez
4. Hasanboy Dusmatov
5. Shakhram Giyasov
6. Johanys Argilagos
7. Shahobiddin Zoirov
8. Oleksandr Khyzniak
9. Sofiane Oumiha
10. Erislandy Savon
11. Lazaro Alvarez
12. Yosbany Veitia
13. Roniel Iglesias
14. Evgeny Tishchenko
15. Joe Ward

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