Russian and Bulgaria dominate
Europeans in Sofia
by Michael O'Neill
December 1, 2016
(DEC 1) The 2016 European Women’s
Elite Championships took place earlier this month at the Sport
Hall in Sofia and though there were some interesting newcomers
who showed future promise, there were also some strange (by any
standards) decisions by the Judges whilst above all the standard
of boxing was not as good as expected though that could arguably
have been foreseen due to the absence of such as World and
Olympic champions like Estelle Mossely and Nicola Adams not to
mention the recently turned Pro Katie Taylor and top Italian,
Irma Testa as well as Savannah Marshall and Nouchka Fontijn
among the welterweights.
Nick Butler of the excellent
“Inside the Games” website had this to report on the main
highlights of the week:
“Bulgaria's Denitsa Eliseeva delighted the crowd with
featherweight gold as the European Boxing Confederation (EUBC)
European Women’s Boxing Championships closed in Sofia with three
Russia claimed four gold medals while Azerbaijan, England and
Turkey added one each.
Eliseeva triumphed in the under-57 kilograms division with a 2-1
split decision over Turkish opponent Sati Burcu.
It added to a successful year in which she also claimed a bronze
medal at the World Championships in Astana.
Team-mate Sevda Asenova secured gold in the opening bout of
finals day in the under-48kg event with a 3-0 success over Lise
Sandebjer of Sweden.
Bulgaria's golden treble also included an under-54kg win for
Stanimira Petrova over Azerbaijan's Anna Alimardanova, also by
an unanimous 3-0 margin.
Russia's four golds were won by flyweight Sevda Asenova,
lightweight Daria Abramova, light welterweight Aleksandra Ordina
and heavyweight Zenfira Magomedalieva.
All four won by a 3-0 margin.
Saveleva beat Ukraine's Tetyana Kob while Abramova overcame
Finland's Mira Potkonen.
Ordina beat Rosie Eccles of Wales while Magomedalieva defeated
Sylwia Kusiak of Poland.
Other gold medals were secured by Elena Vystropova of
Azerbaijan, who beat Turkey's Sama Galiskan 2-0 in the under
69kg event and by
Turkey's Elif Guneri who won the under-81kg event after beating
Hungary's Petra Szatmari, 3-0.” (Our thanks to ‘Inside the
For England it was a very successful tournament bearing in mind
that none of Nicola Adams (turning Pro), Savannah Marshall
(resting following shoulder problems) and Stacey Copeland (still
recovering after surgery that went wrong) were all missing but
their ‘deputies’ excelled.
Natasha Gale defeated Maily Nicar of France to win the EUBC
Women’s 69kg Elite title, as we saw via the Live Streaming
coverage of this year’s Championships (see link)
Boxing in the England vest, the 28-year-old from Leeds secured a
unanimous victory to become European Champion in her first
appearance at a major championship.
It emulated the achievement of Nicola Adams who is the only
other woman from Great Britain to win the European Boxing
Championship, having won the title in Rotterdam in 2011.
Gale said: “It has been a fantastic experience here with the
team. I have enjoyed it so much and to win the gold is just
amazing. It makes all of the hard work and sacrifice worth it.
“To be European Champion this early in my career is incredible;
I am still learning and am so excited for what is still to
Gale’s gold capped a very successful tournament for GB Boxing
which saw three of its four boxers return home with a medal.
All three came in the Olympic weight classes as Lisa Whiteside
and Sandy Ryan took bronze at flyweight and lightweight
respectively to go with Gale’s gold.
It means in the Rio Olympic cycle, women from the GB Boxing
squad have won 11 medals at 6 major international tournaments,
including the Olympic Games.
GB Boxing’s Performance Director, Rob McCracken said: “Natasha
has done brilliantly and to win the European Championship in her
first major tournament is a great achievement. She listened to
the coaches and stuck to the tactics and has got her reward.
“Winning three medals is a very good performance by the whole
team and augurs well for the future of the world class
performance programme as we head into the Tokyo cycle. To win a
medal in each of the Olympic weight classes, when we have not
brought any of our Rio boxers to this tournament, is a superb
achievement and a sign of the strength in depth we are
developing in the women’s boxing programme.”
The team from Wales, also achieve some fantastic results and
returned to the Principality with two medals.
Rosie Eccles reached the final and came away with a silver,
Lauren Price collected a bronze and Lynsey Holdaway reached the
Quarter Finals, indeed many believed her performance was such
that she should have qualified for the semi-finals but as often
in this competition boxers from eastern Europe and particularly
a host nation do seem to be getting results which often seem to
favour them. Some pretty strange results overall in Sofia and
not a tournament that will be well remembered in years to come
other than by the Bulgarians.
It was a pretty mixed week for Ireland, for whom Katie Taylor
had won 6 Golds in previous years’ championships though they did
come away with a bronze medal courtesy of Cill na Martra’s
who was extremely unlucky to have been deemed the loser in her
semi-final bout against Maily Nicar of France. Even the French
coaches apologised to their Irish counterparts since they too
like the Irish management had felt that Desmond had won with
something to spare.
World silver medallist Kellie Harrington was another who had
suffered a dubious decision at the hands of the eventual Russian
champion Ordina but there were some fine , promising
performances from Grainne Walsh, Moira McElligott and Shauna
O’Keeffe. Donna Barr had to withdraw due to injury before the
tournament began whilst as always Dervla Duffy gave of her all
though defeated in her preliminary.
The event itself was well organised by the host nation but the
attendance on most days was pretty meagre (especially when no
Bulgarians in action) and the media coverage via both AIBA and
EUBC was, to put it mildly ‘ very disappointing’.
Results services were ‘hit or miss’ – sometimes fast, usually
slow and whilst the Live Streaming was excellent quality it
often ‘failed’ and EUBC’s staff were receiving scores of
messages via social media point out that their link was not
It seems to be a priority these days by both organisations to
provide extensive coverage of such as “ meetings” especially
with Government officials in any host nation and thus it does
seem to most that they have forgotten that there is a general
boxing public and European media who want reports and results
“today” and NOT “manana” or next week and not just profiles of
AIBA,EUBC or visiting dignitaries be stowing honours on AIBA
Another example of this being that only selected news agencies
were made aware that India’s Mary Kom was to be made an AIBA
“legend” and deservedly so yet apart from agencies in India and
other Asian countries, no one in Europe for example nor in the
Americas received such a Press Release. Indeed that Press
Release has not even yet appeared on AIBA’s own website.
The fact remains also that there was not even a farewell “Good
luck” message from the Lausanne based organisation when Claressa
Shields and Katie Taylor two of their poster girls for many
years, turned Pro. How ungrateful can they be when they ignore
two such great servants of women’s boxing who together with
Adams (soon to turn Pro) did so much great Ambassadorial work
for the AIBA in gaining worldwide media coverage.
This is something hopefully they will rectify sooner rather than
later. Compare that with say USA Boxing who certainly praised
Shields contribution and the IABA’s Bernard O’Neill and Pat Ryan
who offered their organisation’s grateful thanks for all Taylor
had done and again after her Pro debut victory over Karina
Kopinska at the weekend.
The individual communications staff at AIBA/EUBC are very
helpful but it seems to many in the European media that they are
not adequately briefed by AIBA’s “top management” who admittedly
have perhaps even greater concerns when one takes into account
the events in and out of the ring in Rio, the PwC financial
investigation, other financial issues and the suspension of 36
Referees and Judges following Rio.
Hopefully there will be an improvement in near future and
boxers, coaches, and the media can all receive the service that
the public expects from a major Sporting organisation,
The Finals: Results and Medallists:
ALL the finals here via Bulgarian Boxing Federation/You Tube :
ALL the week’s results here via Strefa Poland Boxing :
Mary Kom ‘Legends’ award: