The finals in the light flyweight (50kg), bantamweight (54kg), lightweight (60kg), welterweight (66kg), middleweight (75kg) and heavyweight (+81kg) delivered remarkable fights at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. The Turkish team delighted the fans, all of their four finalists Busenaz Cakiroglu, Hatice Akbas, Busenaz Surmeneli and Sennur Demir secured their gold medals today.
Busenaz Cakiroglu earned her first world title at the start of the session
Turkey’s first finalist on the last competition day was the southpaw Busenaz Cakiroglu who eliminated Spain’s historical medallist Laura Fuertes in the semi-final. Following her recent competitions, Busenaz moved down to the light flyweight (50kg) and faced Colombia’s Ingrit Valencia who is patient and has the same style of boxing. Both boxers waited for the best angles and did not give up their counter-attacking tactics, therefore, the finalists landed fewer punches than in their semi-finals. The AMBC American Champion Valencia is already 35-year-old but she had the same speed as Cakiroglu and the Turkish star had to keep her full concentration. The local hero felt the support and love of the local fans and she looked more confident in the second round using her world-class defensive skills. Cakiroglu’s hooks reached the target, she had the comfortable advantage and didn’t go for any risks in the last round. Her strong technical skills and patience delivered the second gold medal for Turkey at the Championships and the first world title for Cakiroglu.
“I can’t say anything…This is my career highlight to win a gold medal at this Championships in my homeland. Fantastic atmosphere and amazing spectators,” said the crying Turkish boxer after the final.
Hatice Akbas is the champion of the bantamweight
Romania’s Lacramioara Perijoc had four hard bouts on her road to the finals but she managed to win these contests in Istanbul. The defending EUBC European Champion had a local rival, Hatice Akbas, a taller and younger prospect who just moved up to the bantamweight (54kg). The EUBC European U22 Champion from Turkey had better technical skills and her counter-punches stopped Perijoc’s attacks in the first round. The Romanian switched into a different rhythm at the beginning of the second round and she maintained the fighting distance better. The 29-year-old Romanian moved closer and tried to slow down the Turkish girl but Akbas’ longer hands were always dangerous in all of the exchanges. Akbas had a hard job keeping the aggressive Romanian on long distance throughout these rounds and she managed to secure the title in Istanbul.
“I was looking forward to my final and it is hard to believe that I made it in Istanbul. My coaches built the best tactics, I am so grateful for their work,” said 21-year-old Akbas who earned her second title this year.
Rashida Ellis destroyed Ferreira’s dreams
Brazil sent only four boxers to the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships but two of them advanced to the semi-finals in Istanbul. Their defending World Champion in the lightweight (60kg), Beatriz Ferreira faced United States’ Rashida Ellis in a unique re-match which was their fifth meeting since 2019. The Brazilian and the US boxers both had similar height, fighting style and strength but Ferreira looked more active in the first round launching several hooks and body shots. The US boxer tried to keep Ferreira on long and she used a counter-attacking style from the second round which paid off today. Ellis’ ringside found the best tactics against the Brazilian champion and the American was able to keep the same rhythm in the second and third rounds to win the title.
“I learnt a lot from the previous contests against Ferreira and we prepared something different this time. My coach still changed some elements in our tactics in the beginning of the second round. I have been involved in boxing for fifteen years and I was working hard for this moment my whole life. I am planning a celebration upon arrival back to my family,” said the new champion of the lightweight (60kg).
Surmeneli earned her second world title in a row
Turkey’s Busenaz Surmeneli had a clear mission at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships, she wanted to achieve her second title after the 2019 Ulan-Ude edition. She had a younger final opponent, Canada’s Charlie Cavanagh who took a gold medal at the 2018 AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships, and this Istanbul edition is her first major elite competition. The Canadian used the best tactics against the attacking Turkish star but Surmeneli caught her with tough pubches before the end of the first round. Cavanagh had beautiful technical skills, however, Surmeneli was stronger in all of the three rounds and that difference was decisive in the final of the welterweight (66kg). The Turkish boxer earned her second world title by stopping her younger and talented Canadian opponent at the Basaksehir Arena.
Tammara Thibeault is Canada’s first World Champion since 2010
Canada’s Tammara Thibeault and Panama’s Atheyna Bylon had a fantastic final at the AMBC American Elite Boxing Championships in Guayaquil less than two months ago and the two tall boxers met in another re-match for a title. The Canadian started slightly better today and she had an advantage after three minutes. The 26-year-old Thibeault had a small injury a few months ago but she was fit to fight and knew the best strategy against the Panamanian who earned gold at the 2014 Women’s World Boxing Championships. Thibeault was patient and landed her jabs with perfect timing to win their bout of the southpaw boxers.
“I have a fantastic team, my coach, the whole staff worked hard to achieve this title after my bronze in 2019. I had five-months of direct preparation for these Championships but this gold medal is a result of the work of the last 15 years. Canada did not had a World Champion since 2010 so this is something very exciting. I will have ten days of rest after this busy event and we will continue our training sessions to be in strong shape at the Commonwealth Games,” said Thibeault.
Sennur Demir is the champion of the heavyweight
Morocco’s Khadija Mardi took a wonderful and historic bronze medal at the 2019 Women’s World Boxing Championships and the All Africa Games winner decided to switch from the middleweight (75kg) up to the heavyweight (+81kg) this year. The Moroccan faced another veteran boxer, Turkey’s Sennur Demir who achieved silver and bronze medals in the former editions of the Women’s World Boxing Championships. The experienced Moroccan was slightly better in the first round when both boxers tried to maintain the best range. Demir had a knee injury but she started the second round with multiple punches and knocked down her Moroccan rival which was a turning point in the final. Mardi was strong in the long-range during the last round and Demir looked tired but the Turkish boxer managed to win their tight final in front of her fans.
List of the winners at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships 2022
48kg: Ayse Cagirir, Turkey
50kg: Busenaz Cakiroglu, Turkey
52kg: Nikhat Zareen, India
54kg: Hatice Akbas, Turkey
57kg: Lin Yu-Ting, Chinese Taipei
60kg: Rashida Ellis, United States of America
63kg: Amy Broadhurst, Ireland
66kg: Busenaz Surmeneli, Turkey
70kg: Lisa O’Rourke, Ireland
75kg: Tammara Thibeault, Canada
81kg: Gabriele Stonkute, Lithuania
+81kg: Sennur Demir, Turkey