Uzbekistan is setting the pace in the preliminary rounds at the International Boxing Association (AIBA) Youth World Boxing Championships in the Polish city of Kielce, with its fighters proving unbeatable thus far into the competition.
Uzbekistan arrived with 18 boxers, all of whom have realistic medal expectations.
Having earned several medals at the Fujairah 2019 Asian Junior Championships and also at the Ulaanbaatar 2019 Asian Youth Boxing Championships the squad has maintained an ominous level in Kielce.
Meanwhile one of the outstanding performers so far for Cuba is Dany Lafos, who has put together two spectacular wins so far in the men’s 69kg class, firstly against the hard-working Mexican, Marco Verde, and then against the Czech Republic’s Milos Beranek.
More than 85 per cent of the contests have been decided by points in the first three days but at the end of day four, Jordan’s Anas Alsadi decided his 64kg light welterweight bout against the United Arab Emirates’ Hyadra Nehayan more decisively, finishing things with a perfectly executed right hook.
Meanwhile Iceland’s first boxer at these Championships. Emin Kadri Eminsson, acquitted himself with honour in a narrow defeat by Ecuador’s Piero Prieto.
The outstanding women’s performer in day four's evening session was India’s Gitika, who replaced a more experienced boxer, Rajni Singh in the national team in the light flyweight division.
She lived up to the trust put in her, despite her relative lack of experience, as she defeated Russia’s Diana Ermakova in their 48kg light flyweight bout.
The host nation enjoyed another victory thanks to Natalia Kuczewska, who defeated Ukraine’s Yulia Peleshuk in their 48kg bout.
Uzbekistan’s Asian women’s junior champion Nigina Uktamova has had an unbeaten career so far, but she took heavy punishment in the first round of her women’s 54kg bantamweight contest against India’s Arshi Khanam before upping the tempo and finding the way to reach the last eight.
She will be joined there by Anastasia Kirienko, Russia’s 2019 European junior champion and silver medallist from the 2020 European Youth Championships.
Kirienko earned her participation the hard way by beating domestic rival Liana Tarasian at the Russian Youth National Championships, and she had to battle to get past Greece’s experienced Antonia Giannakopoulou.
The men’s 69kg welterweight category is one of the toughest at the Championships with many experienced performers.
Iran’s Farhad Moradi joined the national team four years ago and he started his campaign well against Lithuania’s Ruslanas Zalys, winning his round of 32 bout.
Mongolia’s Jandos Askhar, who moved up to the welterweight category a few months ago, produced the tricky gameplay that saw him through against Thailand’s newcomer Rattapol Kadamduan.
Meanwhile one of the main gold medal contenders of the division, Ukraine’s two-time European youth champion Yuriy Zakharieiev, lived up to his billing with a victory over Italy’s Manuel Lombardi that featured huge attacking shots.