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Nicola Adams into 51kg final in Baku as Katie Taylor declares " I won't relax until I have a gold medal around my neck."
by Michael O'Neill
June 25, 2015
     
   
   

(JUNE 25)  London 2012 Gold medallists Nicola Adams (51kg) and Katie Taylor (60kg) were again in top form on Day 7 of the European Games boxing competition in Baku.

Adams is en route to another history-making final as she becomes the first member of the GB Boxing team to compete for European Games gold.

Nicola beat Elif Coskun of Turkey 3:0 in Wednesday’s semi-finals to claim her place in the 51kg finals, which take place at around 2pm (UK) time Thursday.

The Leeds woman will face Polish boxer Sandra Drabik, who cruised to an impressive victory over Russian Saiana Sagataeva earlier.

It would be a major shock if Drabik, experienced though she is, were to defeat Adams. Do we have a shock in store?

Ireland's Katie Taylor strolled into the semi-finals in the lightweight division with a win over 19-year-old Swede Ida Lundblad also on Wednesday.

Lundblad put in a fearless display against the most decorated woman in ‘amateur’ boxing, but the task was too great for her.

Taylor is as hungry as ever to add to her medal haul and there is only one colour on her mind. "I'm not settling for a bronze medal," she said. "I always come into these competitions hoping for a gold medal so I won't really relax until I have a gold medal around my neck."

Olympic and multi-medalled world champion Taylor faces Yana Alekseeva of Azerbaijan in the semi-finals on Friday 26 June and has no fears about taking on the local girl in front of a partisan crowd.

Alekseevna previously boxed in AIBA competition as Yana Sydor and has represented Ukraine at 60 and at 64kg weights in World and European events in recent years.

Will it not be an advantage to the Azerbaijani champion (who lost to Taylor in the 60kg World Championships final in Jeju 2014) to fight in front of such a partisan, home crowd, one wondered?

"I've boxed many people in their own backyard plenty of times," Taylor said. "In China I boxed a Chinese girl (Cheng Dong) in the final of the world championships and I've boxed Russians before in their home nation as well.

"I'm going to enjoy it. The atmosphere is going to be fantastic. It's going to be such a tough contest, but these are the kind of fights that I cherish."

Her opponent Yana Alekseevna does not intend though to allow Taylor to dominate proceedings and is herself quietly confident of creating an upset.

"I'm not going to relax, I will fight till the end," she said. "I'm also not an easy rival."

The EUBC/AIBA’s nightly report from Baku has chosen its bouts of the day so let’s take a look at some of their findings:

BOUT OF THE DAY:

Netherlands’ Nouchka Fontijn has enjoyed an excellent tournament in Baku so far, but faced a difficult challenge in her semi-final with German Middleweight (75 kg) Sarah Scheurich.

Their bout was a rematch from the last edition of the EUBC European Women’s Continental Championships, where Fontijn defeated her German rival.

Although Scheurich had plans for avenging that defeat, she could not find the best range against Fontijn, who was stronger and controlled the first round in their semi-final bout.

Fontijn improved even further as the fight progressed, and knocked down her opponent en route to an entertaining victory.

She will now meet Sweden’s Anna Laurell Nash for the gold medal, and will enter that bout with great confidence after she beat the veteran Nordic boxer in the final of the Montana Belts Tournament two months ago.

SURPRISE OF THE DAY:

Poland’s EUBC European Women’s Continental Championships silver medallist Sandra Drabik lost to Russia’s rising star Saiana Sagataeva twice in 2014, so was a huge underdog in their semi-final bout in Baku.

Despite her former defeats to the Russian talent, Drabik provided one of her best ever career performances in their semi-final, and reached the Women’s Flyweight (51 kg) final in the process.

Drabik will now fight Britain’s Nicola Adams in the gold medal bout.

Insofar as your correspondent is concerned though there are two Finals on Thursday, the ‘bouts of the day’ are likely to come in the semi-finals of the 64 kg Light Welter division where Russian World no 1,Anastasiia Beliakova

meets the young British champion ,Sandy Ryan from the Allenton club in Derby. Both these excellent boxers may well ‘move down’ from 64kg to 60kgfor next year’s Rio qualifying tournaments and many experts believe that they are both strong challengers for a place in their country’s team.

They are ranked 1 (Beliakova) and 2 (Ryan) in the latest AIBA World rankings at 64kg but of course being that there is no 64kg in Rio,then they may well elect to move to 60kg. The two last met in the World final in Jeju with the Russian taking the crown so says Ryan: ““Revenge will be sweet as that was my first major competition and I learned a lot. It has made me more hungry and I do not think she has improved.”

Ryan though is also looking towards Rio and a potential meeting with her long time ‘favourite’ Taylor. On that prospect the young Derby woman had this to say:

“'I respect Katie and she is a very talented girl. I have looked up to her since I got in the GB squad. I have always said I would love to compete against her, and that is my goal.'

Thursday’s schedule: Link  

Wednesday’s results:(a.m) Link

Wednesday’s results:(p.m) Link 

 
     
     
   
 
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