IBA World Junior Championships. Armenia, India and Uzbekistan took three gold medals in the last day © IBA

The last day of the 2023 IBA World Junior Championships in Mika sport complex in Yerevan started not the way the home crowd wanted. 

A boxer with a very famous boxing last name - Arno Darchinyan (men’s 46 kg) stepped to the ring to fight against Russia’s Islam Magomedov. The fight was very close but only one judge had a draw in his scoresheet. The other four gave the victory to Magomedov, who claimed Russia’s sixth gold of the tournament.

Right after that another home crowd favourite Heghine Petrosyan (women’s 48 kg) was outboxed by India’s Payal Payal in each round. Payal brought the first but not the last gold medal for India of the tournament.

After two losses, the Armenian crowd was a little bit disappointed, but then came European champion Tigran Ovsepyan’s turn to walk to the ring. And the main contender of the gold medal brought to the public the first joy of the day. He lost a round to Bulgarian Angel Dimtrov a round, but won the other two and at the end of the bout all the judges gave the victory to the Armenian athlete. Ovsepyan added the World champion’s title to his tally.

Then it was India’s turn to have 3 finalists in a row. And they managed to win only one of them. In women’s 52 kg weight category Nisha Nisha defeated Farinoz Abdulloeva from Tajikistan by unanimous decision. Jatin Jatin (men’s 54 kg) lost his bout to Kazakhstan’s Nurassyl Tulebek. It was Kazakhstan’s fourth gold medal in the tournament. They had only four finalists, but all of them managed to win their gold medal bouts. Right after that Vini Vini (women’s 57 kg) stepped to the ring against Sevara Mammatova (Uzbekistan).

IBA's General Secretary Chris Roberts attended the final bouts © IBA
IBA's General Secretary Chris Roberts attended the final bouts © IBA

Another gold medal for Uzbekistan claimed Firuzjon Sadullaev (men’s 60 kg). His opponent in the final bout was Andranik Martirosyan from Armenia. In the first two rounds Saduellaev’s advantage was big. Martirosyan returned strong in the third round, throwed some good punches, but it was not enough to close the gap, and the Uzbek athlete won by unanimous decision. 

Siofra Lawless (women’s 63 kg) brought a lot of joy to the Irish delegation winning her final bout against India’s Sachin Sathe. Lawless was dominant in all rounds and won the fight by unanimous decision.

Right after the home crowd exploded as Argishti Hakobyan stepped to the ring in the men's 66 kg weight category final bout against Belarus’s Ivan Siniak. He won each round confidently and became Armenia’s third world champion of the tournament. 

The last four bouts of the tournament featured four more Indian boxers. The first of them won her bout and became World champion, the other three lost the decisive fights. In the women's 70 kg weight category Akansha Phalaswal defeated Russia’s Elizaveta Taymazova by unanimous decision.

When it was Armenia’s Albert Harutyunyan’s turn to enter the ring against Indian opponent. Harutyunyan produced some electric fights in the previous rounds, several times storming back from the losses in the first rounds. He ended his great journey in IBA Junior World Championships with a confident win against Sahil Sahil by unanimous decision, and brought the fourth gold to the Armenian National team.

Anna Bazhaeva (women’s 80 kg) from Russia produced the only knockout of the final day. Her heavy punches against Megha Sheokand made the referee stop the bout in the third round.

The second day of the finals ended the same way as the final’s first day. Yesterday it was Uzbekistan’s representative who won the final bout against an Indian opponent in the women’s super heavyweight category. The last day of the tournament was also closed by the Uzbekistan - India rivalry in the men’s super heavyweight category. And again it was Uzbekistan to win the gold medal. Islam Salikhov defeated Hemant Sangwan by unanimous decision and brought the fourth gold medal to his national team.

Russia won the medal competition with 7 gold, 2 silver and 7 bronze medals. Armenia came the second with 4 gold, 5 silver and 1 bronze medal. Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan also claimed four gold medals. Though India had the most number of the finalists - 12, only three of them became the World champion. Russia was the best also in women’s competition with four gold medals and left behind the Indian team (3 gold medals). Armenian boxers were strongest in the men’s competition with four gold medals, Russia was the second with 3 gold medals.

The 2023 was a good sporting year for Armenia, as they have previously hosted the Weightlifting European championship, 2023, EUBC Youth European Championship and the 2023 World Sambo Championship, and the IBA World Junior Championships were the best way to close the year.