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