Wednesday is the first of two finals day at the 2015 AIBA World Boxing Championships in Doha, and as the only non-Cuban, Uzbek or Russian boxer to feature, Ireland captain Michael Conlan will be even more determined to land a gold medal in the bantamweight class.
First up in the light flyweight category, however, will be Cuba’s 18 year-old WSB champion Joahnys Oscar Argilagos Perez and Vasilii Egorov of Russia. The youngest member of the Cuban team notched up five wins in his first season of WSB and would seal a memorable debut year at this level with a win against the European Confederation Champion.
Conlan faces Uzbekistan’s Murodjon Akhmadaliev in his final, who came through a tough semi-final against India’s Shiva Thapa. If form is anything to go by, however, the more experienced Irishman – sixth in 2011 and 2013 – will be confident of a gold medal.
Russia’s emerging WSB star Vitaly Dunaytsev and Uzbekistan’s Fazliddin Gaibnazarov defeated the number one and two seeds respectively in their semi-finals on Sunday. Both will go into the light welterweight final with high hopes of a gold medal, with the Uzbek hoping to use his greater experience over the 23 year-old.
Cuba’s top seed Arlen Lopez saw off Egypt’s Hosam Abdin and Bektemir Melikuziev made light work of Michael O’Reilly in their Sunday semi-finals, setting up what could be the bout of the day from the two middleweight gold-seekers if the Uzbek can get close enough to his fleet-footed opponent.
Russia’s Evgeny Tishchenko has produced a heavyweight boxing masterclass so far in the championships, showing impressive form matched only by that of his opponent in the final, Erislandy Savon. The Russian southpaw will be eager to banish memories of the World Championships final defeat in Almaty two years ago, but Cuba’s WSB champion will certainly have other ideas.