The Boxing Road to Tokyo European Qualifier resumed in Paris (FRA) today, more than one year after it was stopped in London (GBR) at the end of day 3 of competition on 16 March 2020, due to restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
Action started exactly from where it had ended last year. 168 boxers from 37 countries are still in the race. They arrived in the French capital to compete at Le Grand Dome from 4 through 8 of June, chasing the remaining 61 Tokyo 2020 quota places up for grabs for the continent.
Europe’s best boxers on the ring
Today, the continent’s best boxers stepped onto the ring to compete in the women’s Feather (54-57kg), Light (57-60kg) and Middle (69-75kg) weight classes, and in the men’s Welter (63-69kg), Middle (69-75kg) and Light Heavy (75-81kg) categories, in a total of 44 bouts.
Top seed Lauren Price (GBR) led the first bout of the day, beating France’s Davina Michel on Paris’ ring A in the round of 16 of the Women’s Middle (69-75kg) event. Boxing in the red corner, she won three consecutive rounds by unanimous decision, leaving no chances to Michel.
In the Women’s Feather (54-57kg) event, seed #1 Liudmila Vorontsova of Russia did not make it through the round of 16. Her opponent, Italy’s reigning European champion Irma Testa, clearly ruled the first two rounds, winning both by unanimous decision thanks to her jabs. The Russian athlete tried to fight back in third round landing a series of good punches but it was not enough to climb back as she eventually lost the bout to the Italian by unanimous decision, giving up her chances to secure a Tokyo 2020 spot here in Paris.
During the evening’s session, another top seeded athlete tumbled in the first bout of the qualifier, when Europe’s top ranked Women’s Light (57-60kg) boxer, Mira M. J. Potkonen of Finland, lost to Great Britain’s Caroline Dubois. Dubois, a Youth Olympic gold medal-winner, left few chances to her opponent, as she started off strong, claiming the first round by unanimous decision. She then cleared the second and third rounds by split decision, securing a spot in the round of 8, where she will meet Italy’s Rebecca Nicoli, who stopped Jessica Treibelova, of Slovakia.
Europe top-ranked Welter boxer, Pat McCormack of Great Britain, turned out to be unbeatable for Monaco’s Hugo Micallef in the first men’s bout of the day, in the Men’s Welter (63-69kg) round of 16. Micallef, who was chasing a first, historical, qualification for Monaco, succumbed to the irresistible pace of McCormack. The British boxer won both the first and the second round by unanimous decision, and then ruled the third round right to minute 2:47, when the referee stopped the bout as Micallef found himself in his second consecutive standing count.
“I boxed him before at the European Games and beat him there, so I knew he was a decent fighter, but I knew I had his number all day as long as I boxed well. Stick to the tactics, and I’ll beat him,” said McCormack. “I’m happy with that, obviously they’ve recognized how good I am. I was sitting in the changing room there looking around and I’ve beaten everyone, everyone that I’ve seen at my weight I’ve already beaten them, so it gives me confidence.”
“I can’t wait to get to Japan and show everyone what I’m about,” he continued. “I just hope me and my brother (Luke) both qualify, and then I’ll be happy. He’s been in the stands today shouting at me, just shouting a little bit of advice and little bits of tactics, and they were working.”
Team Great Britain also celebrated at the Men’s Light Heavy (75-81kg) event as Benjamin Whittaker – who walked into the qualifier as the top seeded in the category – beat Romania’s Paul-Andrei Aradoaie. Later, during the evening session, Europe’s #1 Gleb Bakshi of Russia beat Norway’s Gedminas Mindaugas in the Men’s Middle (69-75kg) event by unanimous decision.
The European Qualifier continues tomorrow: follow the action live!
The Boxing Road to Tokyo European Qualifier continues in Paris, tomorrow (5 June). Fans can watch the action live on the Olympic Channel, with all the women’s and men’s bouts across all weight categories available with commentary in English and Spanish. Coverage is available in all territories worldwide free of charge at olympicchannel.com and on its apps for mobile and connected TV devices.
News, photos and results will be posted online on the dedicated Paris Qualifier page of the Athlete365 Boxing Corner website. We encourage fans to join the conversation online using the hashtag #Boxing.