Hosts Bulgaria enjoyed a successful opening day of the European Boxing Confederation Championships as both their competitors clinched victories in their preliminary matches in Samokov.
London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Tervel Pulev is expected to be one of Bulgaria’s best medal prospects and he dominated his men’s under 91 kilogram heavyweight bout with Denmark’s Jim Hassenteufel Andreasen.
Pulev had to settle for a victory on points, despite his domination.
All three judges’ awarded him the contest 30:27 to set up a second round encounter with Slovakia’s Erik Tlkanec, who received a bye in the first round.
The division’s top seed, Evgeny Tishchenko of Russia also received a bye and was able to watch his potential opponents Tadas Tamasauskas of Lithuania and Ireland’s Darren O’Neill battle in their first round tie.
It proved to be one of only two split decision verdicts of the day in the division, with O’Neill awarded the closely fought contest 30:27 by two judges, while the third official scored the bout 29:28 in favour of his opponent.
One of The Netherlands’ five-strong team, Roy Korving, enjoyed the most convincing victory in the heavyweight division, knocking out Kosovo’s Pirro Quni in the second round.
Bulgaria's under 60kg lightweight fighter Elian Dimitrov was left sweating over his progress at the end of his bout with Ukraine’s Olexandr Melenyuk.
He was eventually able the celebrate victory having been given the contest 29:28 by two judges, with Melenyuk considered to have won the contest by the same scoreline by the third judge.
Dimitrov will now face the challenge of experienced Swede Bashir Hassan-Salad in the next round after the 32-year-old joined top seeds Domenico Valentino of Italy and Russia’s Adlan Abdurahidov in receiving a first round bye.
With qualification places at stake for the World Boxing Championships in Doha in October, competition proved to be fierce on the opening day across the divisions.
It promises to continue in the second round matches as the men’s over 91kg super heavyweight top seed Filip Hrgovic of Croatia is due to face the challenge of Dean Gardiner after the Irishman enjoyed comfortable progression in his first match.
Gardiner, who represented the Mexico Guerreros in this year’s World Series of Boxing, won his contest with Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Abdulnaser Delalic via a unanimous points verdict from the judges.
The second day of action is also scheduled to see the first round contests in the men’s 69kg welterweight and 75kg middleweight divisions.
August 2015: European Confederation Boxing Championships set to get underway in Samokov