This past weekend saw the conclusion of the 2017 AIBA world championships which were held in Hamburg Germany. The competition began with 243 boxers and eventually 10 came through 8 days of gruelling action to take gold. With much to ponder here are a few general thoughts from the tournament as a whole.
Having planned to watch the action and record the results from the start the provided stream was blocked to my utter annoyance. In the UK the BBC showed proceedings from the quarter-finals onwards meaning of course the AIBA stream was made unavailable but no explanation was given for why viewers in Britain were unable to access the early stages of the championships.
This isn’t the first time I have had issues with the Olympic channel feed as it has proved unreliable for various Youth and continental tournaments with it either not materialising or cutting out for sizable portions of fights thus resulting in results being missed or important stages of various contests not being seen. The 2015 world championships in Doha was broadcast on YouTube and there were no issues at all from what I can recall so why the change was made is anyone’s guess.
Most will be aware of the huge internal disputes within AIBA and having not delved deep in to the power struggle I’ve no opinion either way but it’s clear from a boxing prospective that a better quality and more consistent stream is necessary along with scoring continuing to be monitored. Speaking of judging from the action I was able to watch the scoring was pretty solid with the quarter-final heavyweight contest between Evgeny Tishchenko and David Nyika standing out as the one atrocious decision. There were some unfathomable cards and Hasanboy Dusmatov and Israil Madrimov can count themselves thoroughly unlucky in their respective contests versus Joahnys Argilagos and Troy Isley respectively. Scoring is a routinely discussed subject in professional boxing and it both codes poor judging must be made accountable at all times.
On to matters in the ring and from an Asian standpoint the tournament was a huge success with the continent boasting 26 of the 80 quarter-finalists and claiming 15 of the 40 medals with 2 gold, 5 silvers and 8 bronze. As expected Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan lead the way with 6 medals each and India, Mongolia and South Korea all grabbed a bronze each.
Uzbekistan will have expected more than 1 gold and they’ll be disappointed at Murodjon Akhmadaliev and Israil Madrimov not reaching the semi-final stage but welterweight victor Shakhram Giyasov showed all the necessary ingredients to be a real star. Kazakhstan are in a rebuilding phase and should be very satisfied with their 1 gold, 2 silvers and 3 Bronze medals and in Ablaikhan Zhussupov and Abilkhan Amankul the country has 2 fantastic young fighters who will only improve with more experience.
India may have hoped for more than a solitary Bronze and lightweight Shiva Thapa being ruled out of the tournament due to illness was a huge blow but the youngsters Gaurav Bidhuri, who captured bantamweight bronze, Amit Panghal and Kavinder Bisht all performed extremely well and with some fabulous talent in the youth and junior levels boxing in the country has a bright future. Mongolia continue to punch above their weight and produce world class operators who are capable of reaching the podium and South Korea’s flyweight Kim Inkyu should be in the mix for medals in the next few years. Japan will be reliant on the exciting youth and junior boxers coming through and worryingly China continue to flounder and the nation didn’t claim a single medal.
Outside of Asia Cuba had a sensational tournament winning 5 golds and light welterweight Andy Cruz was my boxer of the tournament as his exquisite skills proved far too much for all his opponents and providing he stays clear of injury it’s hard to see anyone coming close to him in the future. The fight of the tournament came in the semi-finals as light flyweights Hasanboy Dusmatov and Yurberjen Martinez served up 9 minutes of exhilarating action in a bout that was more than worthy of being the final. Finally, whilst there were many established names who achieves silverware there were also lots of new faces and exciting young pugilists who should be around for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.