India’s Vikas Singh produced the upset of the second day of competition at the International Boxing Association (AIBA) Youth World Boxing Championships in the Polish city of Kielce.
In what was only his second international tournament, he eliminated the gold medal favourite in the 52 kilograms men’s flyweight division at the Hala Legionów.
Vikas exhibited technical ability and physical stamina as he defeated Bulgaria’s two-time European Boxing Union youth champion Yasen Radev, who had won all of his major continental and international tournaments.
By contrast Vikas had competed only in a few regional and national events between 2015 and 2019 before earning a bronze medal in the 2020 Danas Pozniakas Youth Tournament in Lithuania and moving up to flyweight.
Vikas was stronger in the exchanges and remained the fresher fighter in the third round to secure his progress into the last 16.
The men’s flyweight division produced another of the day’s outstanding performances as Nicaragua’s Nelson Guerrero, one of two boxers representing his country at this Championship, progressed at the expense of Romania highly-regarded Marco Antonio Manea, winner of a silver medal in his country’s Youth National Cup.
Russia’s Evgenii Zhorov, who recently regained his place in the national team, was faced with a tough and familiar opponent in his flyweight bout against Uladzislau Smalouski of Belarus.
The latter fighter was the more aggressive, but Zhorov’s counter-attacking eventually paid off for him.
Boxers from the men’s flyweight 52kg, the light welterweight 64kg and the heavyweight 91kg were in action in the afternoon session in Kielce.
Altogether 414 boxers including 140 women from 52 different countries are attending the Championships.
India, Kazakhstan, Poland and Russia are the nations competing with a maximum number of 20 boxers in a tournament being carried out within strict COVID-19 protocols.
On the opening day Poland’s Karolina Ampulska provided the host nation with its first victory as she earned a comfortable decision over Vilte Savickaite of Lithuania with the referee stepping in the end the contest in the second round of their women’s 54kg bantamweight contest.
Elsewhere, Indian boxers made a strong start in the women’s competition.
Poonam has been unbeaten since earning gold at the 2019 Asian Youth Boxing Championships, during which time she has moved up to the 57kg featherweight category.
She needed all her strength and guile, however, to get past Colombia’s Vanessa Arboleda in her opening fight.
Her team-mate Vinka has moved down to the 60kg lightweight division since taking gold at the Ulaanbaatar 2019 Asian Youth Boxing Championships.
She had her hands full with Russia’s newcomer Daria Panteleeva who exceeded the expectations with her style and fell just short of earning a surprise victory.
The Cuban youth team was last able to compete on the international stage two years ago at the Pavlyukov Youth Memorial Tournament in Anapa in Russia.
The Cuban Boxing Federation has sent nine athletes to these Championships, and all of them were considered medal contenders.
Their 56kg bantamweight hope, Saidel Ivan Horta, whose father was also a boxer earned a hard-fought victory over another highly experience opponent in the European Youth bronze medallist Kiryl Levankou of Belarus.
Horta’s team-mate Dany Lafos registered a second win for the Cuban party in the 69kg welterweight class against Mexico’s Marco Verde.