Twenty-eight semi-final bouts were on the agenda on the fifth competition day at the Mediterranean Games in Algeria’s port, Oran. The Italian boxers impressed on the day of the semi-finals, their stars such as Federico Serra, Aziz Abbes Mouhiidine, Giordana Sorrentino and Assunta Canfora advanced to the finals while Gianluigi Malanga caused the main sensation of the day.
The Mediterranean Games is a multisport event which is held every four year and its last edition took place in Tarragona, Spain in 2018. The Opening Ceremony was held on June 25 and more than 3300 athletes from 26 nations are competing in the multisport event until July 6. Boxing is one of the official sports of the Mediterranean Games and the finals are scheduled to take place in Oran’s EMEC Hall on July 1.
Altogether 161 boxers registered to the Mediterranean Games and among them 145 arrived to the event. Such boxing powers such as Turkey, Italy, France, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Syria are also there in Oran with their strong teams. The male boxers can compete in ten weight categories in the Mediterranean Games and the girls are participating for six titles.
The bout of the day
Italy’s former WSB boxer, the experienced Federico Serra eliminated Spain’s reigning EUBC European Champion Martin Molina in the quarter-finals of the flyweight and he managed to win his next challenge in Oran, Algeria. The 28-year-old Italian used better footwork than Turkey’s EUBC European U22 Champion Samet Gumus and took the lead on the scorecards after three minutes. Serra is in better shape than in the recent EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships and after his excellent success, he will now meet Morocco’s 25-year-old Said Mortaji.
The surprise of the day
Italy’s 22-year-old Gianluigi Malanga was bronze medallist at the 2021 EUBC U22 European Boxing Championships in Roseto degli Abruzzi but since that competition he moved down to the light welterweight (63.5kg). He had to miss the EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships in Yerevan due to his injury but he recovered in time to compete at the Mediterranean Games. Like many of his teammates, Malanga is also a finalist in the Games following his success over Morocco’s more experienced, the Tokyo Olympian Abdelhaq Nadir who earned several titles during his career.
Turkey’s Ayse Cagirir returned to the international events after two and half years at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships and she achieved an unexpected gold medal in Istanbul. The Turkish girl advanced to the semi-finals at the Mediterranean Games and faced Tunisia’s new addition Wafa Hafsi in the last four. Cagirir was a hard target for the Tunisian girl and she had excellent counter-punches to beat her North African rival. She will now meet for the title of the Games with Algeria’s Roumaysa Boualam who eliminated Spain’s Marta Lopez Del Arbol in a tight contest.
Italy’s Giordana Sorrentino developed rapidly after her youth competitions and she qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games. The currently 22-year-old Italian is a small boxer in her weight class but she had the energetic attacks to beat Spain’s Laura Fuertes who earned a historic bronze medal at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships six weeks ago. Sorrentino’s final opponent is France’s EUBC European U22 Champion Romane Moulai who walked over Turkey’s defending World Champion Busenaz Cakiroglu.
Montenegro sent only one female boxer to the Mediterranean Games but Bojana Gojkovic is one of the future elite stars of the region. The 19-year-old Montenegrin moved back to the bantamweight (54kg) and after four European titles as junior and youth boxer, she is now a finalist at the Games. Gojkovic controlled all of the three rounds against Algeria’s Fatima Zohra Abdelkader Hedjala in their semi-final contest. She will face Turkey’s defending World Champion and EUBC European U22 Champion Hatice Akbas who ruled all of the exchanges from longer distance against Egypt’s Yomna Ayyad in the second semi-final. Gojkovic’s male teammate, the 22-year-old Stefan Savkovic is also finalist in the Games following his success over Egypt’s Omar El-Sayed.
Assunta Canfora is Italy’s next finalist who eliminated a young French boxer at the light welterweight (63kg), Thais Larche. The experienced Italian will be boxing for the gold medal with one of the local stars, Algeria’s Imane Khelif who achieved a silver at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. The next star of the female part of the Mediterranean Games, Turkey’s two-time World Champion Busenaz Surmeneli was too strong for Italy’s Melissa Gemini and marched to the final of the welterweight (66kg). Surmeneli’s final opponent in the Games is Ichrak Chaib who earned a surprise bronze medal at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul. Serbia’s AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Vladimir Mironchikov had a tough job in the semi-finals of the light heavyweight against Spain’s Gazimagomed Jalidov but he worked hard in the three rounds to win this semi-final bout. Another male star of the Games, Italy’s EUBC European Elite Champion Aziz Abbes Mouhiidine eliminated his main rival, Spain’s Emmanuel Reyes already in the quarter-finals of the heavyweight and defeated Greece’s male No.1, Vagkan Nanitzanian on Day5.