All of the thirteen finals took place in the fourth competition day at the 26th Acropolis Cup in Athens, Greece. The Greek girls have done clean sweep, all of their four women boxers won their weight categories in the returning competition. The Ukrainians and the Armenians were the most successful countries in the male finals.
The number of the participating female and male boxers was 68 in Athens and among them 13 celebrated their titles in the last competition day. Greece, Armenia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Slovenia shared the gold medals in the 26th Acropolis Cup.
The last edition of the Acropolis Cup was held as Olympic Test Event in May 2004 and after 18 years of break, the event returned to the boxing map which is the effort of the new management of the Hellenic Boxing Federation.
The 14 participating nations at the Acropolis Cup were the following in Athens: Armenia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, host Greece, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Poland, Seychelles, Slovenia, Trinidad & Tobago, and Ukraine. The venue of the Acropolis Cup was the Panathenaic Stadium in the centre of Athens which is a historic stadium built in 330/329 BC.
The Technical Delegate of the Acropolis Cup was 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 bout of the day
The super heavyweight (+92kg) was one of the strongest category in the 26th Acropolis Cup and a younger hope succeeded finally. Ukraine’s former EUBC European Schoolboys Champion Oleksandr Hrytsiv eliminated the top favourite, Trinidad & Tobago’s AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Nigel Paul in the semi-finals on Day3 and he faced another boxer who prepares to the upcoming Commonwealth Games. Seychelles’ All Africa Games silver medallist Keddy Agnes has 12 years of international experiences but he was not able to stop Hrytsiv’s attacks in most of their exciting final. The African boxer was physically strong but Hrytsiv managed to win the final with a well-built strategy.
The surprise of the day
The Slovenians sent their best boxers to the 26th Acropolis Cup and one of them advanced to the final of the competition. Gal Sepic is a young talent in their squad, he competes at the light middleweight (71kg) in Athens. The 21-year-old Slovenian faced in the final Greece’s Theodoros Ritzakis who returned to their elite team and marched to the title contest with confidence. Ritzakis eliminated the favourites during his road to the final but Sepic surprised him with an effective strategy and the Slovenian won their narrow fight.
Greece’s Chrysoula Plea competed already at the 2016 EUBC Junior European Boxing Championships and she had a successful youth career with several medals in the international stage. The Greek girl returned to the events after a short break and proved her very best in the final of the flyweight (52kg) in Athens. Plea, who qualified for the 2018 AIBA Women’s Youth World Boxing Championships, used her speed to land punches in the final against Trinidad & Tobago’s Ornella Ramnath. Her Caribbean rival prepares to the upcoming Commonwealth Games and she has strong elite experiences but Plea found her weak points in the first female final of the Acropolis Cup.
The Greek girls won the further three female finals of the 26th Acropolis Cup and all of them defeated German opponents. The EUBC European Youth Champion 19-year-old Antonia Giannakopoulou is their biggest future hope who defeated Fiona Wohlers unanimously in the final of the featherweight (57kg). Greece represented the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul with two girls last months and both of them succeeded in Athens. Marinela Cani defeated Germany’s Canan Tas in the final at the lightweight (60kg) before Olga Papadatou triumphed over Felicitas Ganglbauer.
The participating Armenians were hungry for the successes at the Acropolis Cup to show their development. The lightweight (60kg) was tough in the competition but their Artur Ghazaryan managed to beat Cyprus’ new flag bearer, Odysseas Atmatzidis in the final. The light welterweight (63.5kg) was the busiest category in Athens with 11 boxers on the board including three Armenians. Two of them advanced to the finals of the competition, and Narek Hovhannisyan secured the title in the Greek capital after beating his teammate, Benik Nikoghosyan by unanimous decision.
Ukraine’s EUBC European Youth Champion Bozorboy Matyakubov is only 19-year-old but enjoyed his debut among the elite boxers in Athens. The Ukrainian teenager was too smart for Poland’s AIBA World Boxing Championships competitor Filip Wachala and won the title of the welterweight (67kg). The light heavyweight (80kg) delivered one of the closest contests of the fourth competition day between two young European Champions. Ukraine’s Matviy Razhba is one-year-older than Greece’s super talented Theocharis Tsaousidis and he managed to win that difficult contest in Athens.