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Lin Yu-Ting and Irma Testa are to meet in dream final of featherweight

The first part of the semi-finals with its 12 exciting fights at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships ended in Istanbul. Ireland was the only nation during the afternoon session which secured two final places at the Championships. Algeria, Chinese Taipei, India, Italy, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Mozambique, Poland, Thailand and Turkey all have one finalist after the first session of the semi-finals.

The 12 winners in the minimumweight (48kg), flyweight (52kg), featherweight (57kg), light welterweight (63kg), light middleweight (70kg) and light heavyweight (81kg) are now finalists in Istanbul.

Cagirir vs Balkybekova for the title of the minimumweight

Turkey’s Ayse Cagirir competed on the international stage last time in 2019 but she won their National Championships and came back to the business. She was excited as all of the Turkish girls to compete in front of the local fans and tried to keep her Argentinean opponent, Aldana Florencia Lopez on a long distance. The Argentinean won the AMBC American Elite Boxing Championships and she had excellent footwork and technical skills during the whole event which she proved in the last four too. Both boxers were patient and had the same boxing style which delivered a great ‘chess game’ between them. Lopez improved at the end of the third round and landed several punches but she was not able to beat the quick Turkish boxer today. Cagirir will be meeting in the final of the minimumweight (48kg) with Kazakhstan’s Alua Balkybekova who stopped Bulgaria’s Sevda Asenova in a quick fight.

“This is a fantastic feeling, I did not expect that I could win this semi-final by RSC today. I will do my best in the final against the Turkish boxer,” said Kazakhstan’s Alua Balkybekova who needed only two minutes to stop Asenova.

Jutamas Jitpong’s semi-final triumph is a new career highlight for the Thai boxer

Kazakhstan impressed the fans on the day of the quarter-finals at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships and after Balkybekova’s RSC success, their next boxer in the semi-final was Zhaina Shekerbekova. The Kazakh flyweight (52kg) boxer had a taller Thai rival, Jutamas Jitpong who received the right to attend the Championships instead of the currently running Southeast Asian Games. The 24-year-old Thai moved a lot in the first round and took the lead on all of the judges’ scorecards. The Kazakh southpaw was more aggressive in the second round and she had a great finish in that period but Jitpong could keep her in her safest range. Shekerbekova was finalist at the Championships four years ago but this time the technician Jitpong advanced to the title contest. The Thai will have another Asian rival for the gold medal, India’s Strandja Memorial Tournament winner Nikhat Zareen who eliminated Brazil’s new sensation, Caroline De Almeida.

“I am so proud that I can represent India at such a big event as the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. I competed in the 2016 edition in Astana, that was my first big elite event in my career. I can participate here in the flyweight for the first time and my goal is the same, to become a World Champion,” added India’s Nikhat Zareen after her outstanding semi-final performance.

Anticipated final in the featherweight – Lin Yu Ting vs Irma Testa

Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yu-Ting won a gold medal at the 2018 Women’s World Boxing Championships and she planned to repeat that performance in Istanbul. Lin is taller than all of her rivals and she kept the distance well in the previous four victorious bouts but this time she had to use a different strategy, as Kazakhstan’s Karina Ibragimova had the same height. The Kazakh southpaw moved ahead more than in her previous contests and she was competitive against the star from Chinese Taipei. Ibragimova, who moved down to the featherweight (57kg) after spending many years at the lightweight (60kg), looked fresh in the second round but she received punches from Lin Yu-Ting. Chinese Taipei’s No.1 marched to the finals for the second time in her career and can expect a very hard battle against Italy’s Irma Testa who defeated India’s Manisha Moun once again within two months.

“It was my fifth contest at these Championships and I think I am better and better in Istanbul. However, I still have very important final. We had the same physical conditions and tactics but I had the tactics against the Kazakh boxer today. I am ready to fight against Irma Testa,” added Lin Yu Ting.

Imane Khelif was highly confident in her semi-final

Algeria’s Imane Khelif is one of the best boxers at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. The All African Games gold medalist won all of her contests in Istanbul by a large margin. She is Algeria’s first-ever medalist at the Championships but she was the top favorite in her semi-final against Netherlands’ Chelsey Heijnen. The Dutch girl was also born in 1999 as Khelif but she does not have the same level of experience and skills yet. Heijnen had brave attempts in their semi-final but Khelif overcame her in the attacks and landed her punches with perfect timing. The Algerian was dancing in the ring to avoid the Dutch punches and now she will be able to box for the title of the light welterweight (63kg) with Ireland’s Amy Broadhurst.

“I enjoyed this semi-final contest and used my biggest strengths against the attacking Dutch boxer. I am fresh and I am one step away from my target, the gold medal of the Championships,” said Khelif.

Alcinda Panguane continued the winning path

Kazakhstan’s Valentina Khalzova was a gold medalist at the 2016 edition of the Championships at the age of 20 and after a few years she returned to an amazing level of boxing. The light middleweight (70kg) boxer performed well in the first round against Mozambique’s first-ever medalist in the history of the event, Alcinda Panguane. Her African opponent adopted the rhythm of the semi-final in the second round and surprised Khalzova. The Kazakh began the third round with a tough right-handed jab but following Panguane’s heavy punch Khalzova was counted by the referee. Mozambique’s sensation produced a remarkable third round and overturned their semi-final contest. Now she has only one further rival, Ireland’s Lisa O’Rourke.

European young boxers are in the finals of the light heavyweight

Poland’s Oliwia Toborek is only a 20-year-old but she advanced to semi-finals of the light heavyweight (81kg) in Istanbul. The EUBC European U22 Champion had a tall Australian rival, Jessica Bagley who surprisingly eliminated India’s favorite, Pooja Rani in the quarter-finals. Toborek spent the whole year in competitions and training camps to be in top shape in Istanbul where she used attacking style in this semi-final. The Australian started the second round with effective jabs and she stepped to the left after launching her punches which were part of her defense. She made it simple in the second round but Toborek still looked quicker in their exchanges and her speed decided the first semi-final of the light heavyweight (81kg). Toborek’s final opponent is Lithuania’s youngster Gabriele Stonkute who made brilliant second and third rounds to beat Turkey’s veteran Elif Guneri.

“It is hard to believe that I am a finalist in my first Women’s World Boxing Championships,” added Oliwia Toborek.

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