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Turkish stars successfully opened their campaigns in Istanbul 2022

The second part of the 1/16 finals contests in the light flyweight (50kg), bantamweight (54kg), lightweight (60kg) and welterweight (66kg) were held during the evening session of Day4. The Turkish stars Busenaz Surmeneli, Busenaz Cakiroglu and Hatice Akbas won their contests, starting their road to the medals in front of the home crowd.

Aziza Yokubova made the first surprise of the evening session

United States’ 19-year-old Jennifer Lozano is one of the talents of their strong team who claimed a gold medal at the AMBC American Elite Boxing Championships. The Texas-based light flyweight (50kg) boxer could not adapt to the rhythm of the bout against Uzbekistan’s Aziza Yokubova, the second strongest in her homeland in this category. The USA southpaw was the favorite of this contest but Yokubova surprised Lozano with her effective punches. Yokubova received good advice on time from her coach Mr. Elshod Rasulov who claimed several medals in the big events as a boxer between 2002 and 2016. Lozano was not active in this contest and suffered an unexpected loss in the evening session of the Championships.

Busenaz Cakiroglu delighted the home crowd

Turkey’s Busenaz Cakiroglu won the European Games and the EUBC European Women’s Boxing Championships in a row three years ago. The Turkish boxer was a silver medalist in the last edition of the Women’s World Boxing Championships and now her objective is clear, to win the light flyweight (50kg) in Istanbul. Cakiroglu was excited to show her amazing technical skills in front of the local fans. From the second round, she played with her younger Mongolian opponent, Mungunsaran Balsan. The 26-year-old Turkish star was untouchable for her rival and she used her mistakes to land her jabs and hooks in the contest. Cakiroglu plays an important role in the Turkish team, and today she won her opening bout with an outstanding performance. Her star teammate, the defending champion Busenaz Surmeneli had a quick success following Italy’s Angela Carini’s injury in the bout.

“It was an emotional moment for me to box today in front of my family and the Turkish fans. I was waiting for these Championships so much and this is an important event in my life. The crowd arranged a fantastic atmosphere for me, special thanks to them,” said Cakiroglu after her success.

Aira Villegas showed impressive performance on Day 4

The Philippines sent one boxer to the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships, Aira Villegas, who claimed previously several medals at various international tournaments. The Filipino boxer claimed a silver in the Thailand Open last month and proved that her technical skills are better than before. Villegas learned a lot from her coach, a former World medalist Mitchell Martinez and she used a typical Filipino style of boxing in the first round against Germany’s Maxi Kloetzer. Her European rival is a strong prospect but she could not adapt to the world-class rhythm today. Villegas had a convincing advantage after six minutes. The Filipino landed strong hooks in the third round and her imposing defensive skills guaranteed the large margin between them.

“I am the only one from the Philippines here in Istanbul, the others are at the Southeast Asian Games. I want to win the gold medal at these Championships. I was confident from the second round and I believe I performed well in the third,” commented Villegas.

Hatice Akbas continued Turkey’s winning path

Turkey’s Hatice Akbas earned a gold medal at the EUBC U22 European Boxing Championships this March in Croatia and following the national events, she was selected to attend these Championships. The 21-year-old boxer made a decision to compete in the bantamweight (54kg) this year. She fought bravely in the first round against Germany’s Zeina Nassar. The Turkish boxer was more experienced despite her young age and she proved an outstanding performance today. Akbas used the same style of boxing as Busenaz Cakiroglu and landed dozens of punches during their preliminary bout.

Great session for the Bulgarians

Bulgaria’s Zlatislava Chukanova returned to the big championships after a short break following she gave birth to her son and won a tight bout in the evening session against Ukraine’s Olha Shalimova in the light flyweight (50kg). The second Bulgarian in the session was Stanimira Petrova, a World Champion from 2014 who arrived in Istanbul with an unbeaten annual record. Petrova won all of her three international tournaments this year and she used her biggest strength, the quick counter-shots against Puerto Rico’s Angelyris Lopez. Petrova moved down to the bantamweight (54kg) at the end of last year, returning to the most suitable category and proving her excellent technical skills. After she gained an advantage, Petrova played with her opponent in the third round, warming up for the later actions.

“I felt great in this contest today, especially from the second round. My strategy was to stay in the middle of the ring and counter-attack my Puerto Rican rival. As far as I am aware the Polish boxer won her contest and I will be meeting with her next in a few days. We will analyse her and work out the best strategy against her,”commented Petrova.

Lucia Noelia Perez eliminated Germany’s No.1 in the welterweight

Germany’s Stefanie Von Berge is a two-times EUBC European U22 Champion and currently a prospect of her country at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. The 21-year-old German had a tough draw, her first rival was Argentina’s experienced Lucia Noelia Perez who made her debut in the Championships in Jeju eight years ago. The German welterweight (66kg) boxer is taller than any of her rivals in this category and she can outbox her rivals from her safest distance but she moved ahead too much in the first round. The Argentinean was patient and followed her own game plan in the first and second rounds well enough to take the lead on the scorecards. Perez overcame her rival from Germany in the attacks and she was able to eliminate the talented Von Berge in one of the highlights of the evening session.

“My German opponent is a super talented boxer and she had excellent results in the younger age. We prepared to a hard battle and I had to concentrate only on my movements and combinations to beat Von Berge. I used my experiences to overcome her today,” added Perez.

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