Boxing: Youth Olympics cheer for GB

Repton's Caroline Dubois tops the podium at the European Youth Championships (pic England Boxing)

Repton's Caroline Dubois tops the podium at the European Youth Championships (pic England Boxing) - Credit: Archant

Great Britain’s boxing medal record has been very good at the three summer Youth Olympics held so far, with three golds and three bronze leaving them behind Cuba and Russia.

Viddal Riley celebrates a win for West Ham Boys

Viddal Riley celebrates a win for West Ham Boys - Credit: Archant

The inaugural Games were held in Singapore in 2010 and GB had one male boxer qualify for the event in Welsh bantamweight Zack Davies, who lost in the third place bout to Poland’s Dawid Michelus 12-7.

Unlike the regular Olympics, only one bronze medal is awarded at the Youth Games, but it was a very creditable performance from Davies.

The 2014 Games in Nanjing meant China became the first country to stage both the regular Olympics (Beijing 2008) and Youth Olympics.

GB had three male boxers who had qualified and two delivered bronze medals, although Hackney’s Viddal Riley missed out in the under-81kg division as he lost out a split decision 2-1 to Armenia’s Narek Manasyan in the third-place bout.

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Nonetheless, it was again a very good performance from our local man and, in the under-52kg category, Muhammad Ali (how could he not succeed with a name like that?) secured a bronze medal after losing his semi-final to Shakur Stevenson, the eventual gold medalist from USA.

Ali he bounced back to win the third place contest by clearly outpointing India’s Gaurav Solanki to cement a fine tournament overall.

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Peter McGrail also won bronze in the under-56kg class, after losing his semi-final encounter with Cuba’s eventual gold medalist Javier Ibanez Diaz.

McGrail regrouped to outpoint Algeria’s Tamma Salem in their third place bout to seal another fine display in this very tough and competitive tournament.

At Buenos Aires in 2018, GB had outstanding success in the ring, with no fewer than three gold medals and a bronze for good measure.

Could all this point to a very bright ring future for GBR boxers in the coming years? Let’s hope so.

GB won its first ever gold medal in these Games through Ivan Hope Price with a first round stoppage of Thailand’s Sarawut Sukthet in the final of their under-52kg encounter.

Not to be outdone, Slovakian-born Karol Itauma won GB’s second gold medal with a 4-1 points success over Russia’s Ruslan Kolesnikov and a bronze medal went to Hassan Azim at under-64kg. Although outpointed in his semi-final by the eventual Olympic champion from Russia Ilya Popov, Azim regrouped to stop Morocco’s Mohammed Boulaoja in the third place bout.

For the first time at these Games, GB fielded a female boxer in the form of Londoner Caroline Dubois in the 60kg division.

Older brother Daniel is already a multi-titled professional champion and tipped by many pundits as a future world heavyweight champion.

And Caroline won her three bouts in Buenos Aires with identical 5-0 scores, including her final triumph over Thailand’s Porntip Buapa to become the first British female boxer to both enter and then win a gold medal at the event.

She remains undefeated with a 40-0 record and, besides her Youth Olympic success, has also won three European Junior Championships, a World Youth Championship, a European Youth Championship and two English National Youth Championships.

Clearly a fantastic prospect for further international honours, Caroline in her first bout as a senior in the lightweight division outpointed Ala Staradub of Belarus in her opening bout at the Olympic Qualifying tournament at the Copper Box Arena last month.

The event was then curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic before she could meet Finland’s Mira Potkonen in her next qualifying contest, but it should be noted that Potkonen derailed reigning Olympic lightweight champion Katie Taylor in Rio in 2016, when the Irishwoman was hoping to defend her the crown she had won at the London 2012 Games.

We await further details of how and when this qualifying tournament will re-commence, given that the Tokyo Olympics have been postponed until the summer of 2021.

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