Yin Junhua, Li Qian and Tursynbai Kulakhmet are the Asian winners in the Strandja Memorial Tournament
Three Chinese, one Indian and one Kazakh boxer advanced to the final of the Strandja Memorial Tournament on Saturday and among them China’s Yin Junhua, China’s Li Qian and Kazakhstan’s Tursynbai Kulakhmet were able to get the titles in the event which is one of the strongest in the whole world. Twelve podium places were achieved by our Asian boxers in Sofia: 3 gold, 2 silvers and 7 bronze medals.
Among the participating nations China, Chinese Taipei, India, Kazakhstan, Singapore and Thailand represent the Asian continent. Among the Asian nations Singapore is competing in the Strandja Memorial Tournament at the very first time in the history of the event. The top countries of the world such as Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, United States of America and England all sent their best boxers to the Strandja Memorial Tournament.
China’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games silver medallist Yin Junhua dominated her opening bout against Netherlands’ newcomer Gina Hofman at the lightweight (60kg) and she was able to continue her winning path against England’s AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships silver medallist Sandy Ryan in the quarter-final. Yin had to beat United States’ Rio 2016 Olympian Mikaela Mayer in the semi-final which was another hard job for the experienced Chinese lady. Yin’s final opponent was Bulgaria’s veteran EUBC European Champion Denitsa Eliseeva but she was able to solve that tactical job and delivered the first Asian success in the Strandja Memorial Tournament.
China’s second woman finalist in the Strandja Memorial Tournament was Rio 2016 Olympic Games bronze medallist Li Qian who eliminated United States’ new National Champion Oshae Jones in the quarter-final and continued her winning path against Chinese Taipei’s Rio 2016 Olympian Chen Nien Chin. Li had to meet in the final of the Strandja Memorial Tournament with Netherlands’ Rio 2016 Olympic Games silver medallist Nouchka Fontijn who is same tall as the Chinese boxer. Their middleweight (75kg) final was one of the best in the last competition day which was won by Li Qian 3:2 in Sofia.
Kazakhstan’s former ASBC Asian Youth Champion Tursynbai Kulakhmet moved back to the middleweight (75kg) in the recent one year and also won a place in the final in Sofia where his rival was Ukraine’s WSB boxer Valeriy Kharlamov. Kulakhmet outpointed his Ukrainian rival and his efforts were enough to win his semi-final in Sofia on Saturday. The Kazakh talent met for the gold medal with Bulgaria’s veteran Arman Hakobyan and he was able to continue his winning path against the local favourite. Kulakhmet won Kazakhstan’s lone title in the Strandja Memorial Tournament but he proved his great development in the event.
China’s third finalist in the Strandja Memorial Tournament was Rio 2016 Olympic Games bronze medallist and Doha 2015 AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Hu Jianguan. The 23-year-old boxer defeated Thailand’s ASBC Asian Confederation Boxing Championships bronze medallist Tanes Ongjunta in the semi-final of the men’s flyweight (52kg) but lost to Bulgaria’s EUBC European Champion Daniel Asenov in the final of the Strandja Memorial Tournament which delivered for him silver in Sofia.
India’s new bantamweight (56kg) National Champion Mohamed Hussamuddin exceeded the expectations in the Strandja Memorial Tournament where his current skills were enough to advance to the final of the event. The Indian boxer eliminated Bulgaria’s No.1 Stefan Ivanov in the semi-final and lost to only Ukraine’s AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Mykola Butsenko in the final of the event. The young Indian hope could be a new sensation in the international events this year.