The sixteen male semi-finals were held on the third competition day at the 26th Acropolis Cup in Athens, Greece. Cyprus’ Odysseas Atmatzidis is a newcomer in the international events but he marched to the final of the lightweight (60kg) in the Greek capital. The Armenians and the Ukrainians impressed on the day of the semi-finals.
One of the previous prestigious European competitions, the Acropolis Cup is back on track to international agenda after 18 years of break. The Technical Delegate of the Acropolis Cup is Mr. Maxim Cherticovtsev of Moldova but EUBC President Mr. Ioannis Filippatos also followed the bouts in Athens together with the President of the Hellenic Boxing Federation Mr. Charis Mariolis.
The 14 participating nations at the Acropolis Cup are the following: Armenia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Poland, Seychelles, Slovenia, Trinidad & Tobago, and Ukraine. The number of the participating female and male boxers is 68 in Athens who are aiming for the 13 gold medals. The venue of the Acropolis Cup is the Panathenaic Stadium in the centre of Athens which is a historic stadium built in 330/329 BC.
All of the thirteen finals will take place on the last competition day of the 26th Acropolis Cup in Athens, Greece on Sunday evening. The bouts are lives streamed in the Vimeo video hosting and sharing channel.
The bout of the day
Trinidad & Tobago’s Nigel Paul earned a historic bronze medal for his nation at the Belgrade 2021 AIBA World Boxing Championships. The experienced and tall super heavyweight (+92kg) boxer eliminated his first rival in the 26th Acropolis Cup and met Ukraine’s Oleksandr Hrytsiv in the semi-finals. His Ukrainian rival took his first big achievement, a title at the 2013 EUBC European Schoolboys Boxing Championships therefore Paul expected a hard battle against Hrytsiv. The Caribbean boxer landed powerful punches but Hrytsiv replied to all of his actions and eliminated the main favourite of the biggest weight class. The Ukrainian will be facing for the gold medal with Seychelles’ All Africa Games silver medallist veteran, Keddy Agnes who stopped Armenia’s Hovhannes Papazyan in the second semi-final.
The surprise of the day
Greece’s Konstantinos Kalogeridis caused a sensational success at the quarter-finals of the lightweight (60kg) in Athens and he was aiming for the title at the Acropolis Cup. The Greek boxer, who participated at the EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships in Yerevan, faced Cyprus’ Odysseas Atmatzidis in the semi-finals. The Cyprian is not a well-known boxer in the international stage yet and the Acropolis Cup is his debut but he worked hard enough to beat Kalogeridis in a hectic semi-final.
The Armenian Boxing Federation hosted the EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships in Yerevan less than one month ago and their management decided to give chances to those boxers in Athens who were unable to compete in the continental event. Seyran Yeghikyan is one of them, and the young boxer proved his very best against Bulgaria’s Latin Ivanov. Yeghikyan dominated the first round and the Greek referee stopped their unequal contest in the second which means the Armenian can box for the gold medal with Kazakhstan’s Ryskhan Talyp.
The light welterweight (63.5kg) is the busiest category at the 26th Acropolis Cup with the participation of 11 boxers. Three Armenians competed in this weight class in Athens and all of them advanced to the semi-finals. Benik Nikoghosyan eliminated Greece’s Stelios Kyrsanidis in the first semi-final of the weight class and secured his place in the final. He will now meet with another Armenian boxer, the 24-year-old Narek Hovhannisyan who bowed out Ararat Gyulbangyan in a narrow battle.
Ukraine’s Bozorboy Matyakubov won the gold medal at the 2021 EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships in Budva and he joined the U22 and elite age groups this January. The 26th Acropolis Cup is his first major elite international tournament and the 19-year-old Ukrainian proved his amazing talent and technical skills in Athens. Matyakubov defeated another youngster in the semi-finals of the welterweight (67kg), Bulgaria’s Rumen Rumenov and will be boxing for the title with Poland’s Filip Wachala, a 24-year-old boxer. The Polish competed at the 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championships and his experiences supported him to beat Armenia’s Ararat Harutyunyan.
The Slovenians registered a huge delegation to the EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships but only one of their boxers, Nik Nikolov Veber was able to attend in Yerevan. He competed also in Athens but the young Slovenian was eliminated in the first preliminary round. Their teammates joined him in this Acropolis Cup and among them Gal Sepic advanced to the final of the light middleweight (71kg). The Slovenian boxer eliminated Cyprus’ Rafail Pafios and will now meet for the title with Greece’s Theodoros Ritzakis who bowed out Ukraine’s Kyrylo Taran in the second semi-final.