Ukraine dominated the finals of the 2008 European Elite Amateur Boxing Championships, held in Liverpool last night.
All four representatives of the nation returned back to their native country with gold medals, after winning the flyweight right through to heavyweight classes in emphatic style.
Boxing had arrived back to the European Capital of Culture, following Liverpool’s long and glorious association to the sport.
And the 3,000 crowd, inside the newly opened ACC Liverpool, located on the Waterfront in the city centre, got treated to some superb boxing from Europe’s cream of amateur talent.
It was the first major tournament of note since the Beijing Olympics during the summer this year, with the preliminary rounds having taken place at Liverpool’s Greenbank Academy from 6-13 November.
Liverpool, of course, is still basking in the glory of local star, super heavyweight David Price, following his impressive bronze medal prize at the Olympics. But, unfortunately, the big hitter – nicknamed “Dynamite” – was not on the bill in Liverpool.
However, the star of the show was a young boxer from Hull – Luke Campbell.
The pressure was on for England’s sole representative as he faced a tough contest against Detelin Dalakliev of Bulgaria in the 54kg bantamweight division.
Campbell boxed clever, taking a comfortable lead in the opening round at 2-0. He kept the Bulgarian at distance with a great jab and picked him off with some fine shots – causing his opponent to become frustrated and rush his work.
He maintained in front, within the second round, with a lead of 3-1. Nevertheless, Campbell began to tire and allowed his fellow finalist back into the fight in the third round, creating a nervous finish as they headed for the final two minutes at 4-3 to Campbell. Dalakliev finished the stronger of the two, but it wasn’t enough as Campbell’s earlier work was enough for him to take the decision with both fighters scoring 5 points each.
Now, scoring – an issue this particular night also – is anything but straightforward in amateur boxing.
Because the Campbell fight ended a draw, he won on a ‘countback’ – or ‘raw score’ decision.
In amateur boxing, in order for a punch to register a point, a computer system is used in which three of the five judges must record a scoring punch by pressing a button within one second of each other.
Regardless of which boxer is the more aggressive, only these points get counted.
Therefore, Campbell got the decision due to the total number of ‘button pushes’ the judges made, including the ones that didn’t register as official points.
It’s a very complex and complicating system, but Campbell couldn’t care less I suspect as he can now add his European Elite gold to his two ABA national titles.
He joined boxers from Ukraine, Russia, Armenia, Bulgaria and Belarus on the first spot of the podium.
But the night ultimately belonged to the Ukraine with Vasyl Lomachenko, in the 57 kg, and Oleksandr Usik in the 81 kg weight classes both looking like they have bright futures ahead of them in the sport. Incidentally, Lomachenko was going into his contest as Olympic gold medallist and also the boxer of that tournament.
One sad note involved the welterweight contest between Mohamed Nurudzinau of Belarus and Jack Culcay-Keth of Germany. Despite the German leading impressively 5-3, the referee called an end to the fight in the third round and awarded the win to Nurudzinau, due to Culcay-Keth suffering a nasty cut. The German looked dejected as he left the arena.
The same couldn’t be said for the Ukraine or the paying public; however, as we all left having watched a great night of boxing in one of the homes of the sport.
FULL LIST OF FINAL WINNERS
48kg – Light Flyweight
Hovhannes Danielyan (Armenia) BEAT José Kelvin De La Nieve (Spain), with judges scoring the contest 7-6 in his favour after the full four rounds.
51kg – Flyweight
Georgiy Chygayev (Ukraine) BEAT Salomo N’Tuve, with judges scoring the contest 5-0 in his favour after the full four rounds.
54kg – Bantamweight
Luke Campbell (England) BEAT Detelin Dalakliev (Bulgaria), by countback decision with judges scoring a 5-5 draw.
57kg – Featherweight
Vasyl Lomachenko (Ukraine) BEAT Araik Ambartsumov (Russia), with judges scoring the contest 7-1 in his favour after the full four rounds.
60kg – Lightweight
Leonid Kostylev (Russia) BEAT Vazgen Safaryants (Belarus), with judges scoring the contest 7-3 in his favour after the full four rounds.
64kg – Light Welterweight
Eduard Ambartsumyan (Armenia) BEAT Gyula Kate (Hungary), with referee stopping the contest in round one.
69kg – Welterweight
Mohamed Nurudzinau (Belarus) BEAT Jack Culcay-Keth (Germany), with referee stopping the contest after round three.
75kg – Middleweight
Ivan Sinay (Ukraine) BEAT Maksim Koptyakov (Russia), with judges scoring the contest 9-4 in his favour after the full four rounds.
81kg – Light Heavyweight
Oleksandr Usik (Ukraine) BEAT Siarhei Korneyev (Belarus), with judges scoring the contest 11-2 in his favour after the full four rounds.
91kg – Heavyweight
Egor Mekhontsev (Russia) BEAT Tsolak Ananikyan (Armenia), with judges scoring the contest 9-2 in his favour after the full four rounds.
+91kg – Super Heavyweight
Kubrat Pulev (Bulgaria) BEAT Denis Sergeev (Russia), with judges scoring the contest 9-2 in his favour after the full four rounds.
* The finals are being broadcast on BBC Sunday Grandstand from 2pm-3pm today.