Light Flyweight (49kg)
Joahnys Argilagos is once again the Light Flyweight World Champion, the Cuban’s hand raised after three breathtaking rounds against Uzbekistan’s Olympic Champion Hasanboy Dusmatov got Finals Day underway in grand style in Hamburg. It was a typically flamboyant display by Argilagos with a lightning-fast start from two brilliant boxers using the whole of the ring to deliver their craft. Ultimately, it was Argilagos’ nimble attacks that saw the 20-year-old edge the tightest of split decisions.
Yosbany Veitia of Cuba looked to dominate the centre of the ring and control the bout against Uzbek Jasurbek Latipov. Veitia, with Latipov content to launch rapid counters when the rare opportunity presented itself. The openings became fewer as the Cuban seized the initiative, and it was a unanimous decision that eventually took Veitia to gold.
In the final, Kazakhstan’s Kairat Yeraliyev once again faced the man who already beat him earlier in the year in Germany’s Chemistry Cup, USA’s Duke Ragan. This time, it was Yeraliyev who managed to limit his opponent’s attacks in the opening round, before the sole American to reach the finals at the end of an excellent team campaign came back into the bout. It was to be Yeraliyev who conjured up the stronger finish to edge the split decision and earn the gold.
The Rio Olympic silver medallist Sofiane Oumiha made another excellent campaign that saw him reach the Final in Hamburg. Standing in his way, however, was Lazaro Alvarez, one of Cuba’s all-time greats and a man one bout from an incredible fourth straight World title. The Frenchman began the stronger but Alvarez ended the first round one on top, only for Oumiha to reassert himself on the bout in the 2nd round and go on to record a brilliant unanimous points win.
Light Welterweight (64kg)
A brilliant Light Welterweight Final then unravelled between Uzbekistan’s Ikboljon Kholdarov and Cuba’s Andy Cruz, two technically excellent boxers who clearly thrived on the big stage as they delivered three rounds of pure entertainment. Cruz has truly found his home at Light Welterweight, and despite Kholdarov’s incredible evasive manoeuvres, it was the Cuban who found the perfect range and rhythm to deliver himself a richly deserved gold.
Uzbekistan’s Shakhram Giyasov, had been in sparkling form heading to the Welterweight gold medal match with Cuba’s potent Roniel Iglesias, and the pair delivered another top-quality bout for the packed Sporthalle crowd.
It was Giyasov who looked the more comfortable throughout, and as Iglesias tried to salvage something from the final, the Uzbek star pounced, his rapid-fire combinations ensuring a unanimous win for the new World Champion.
Kazakhstan newcomer Abilkhan Amankul and the tough Oleksandr Khyznhiak put on a Middleweight masterclass. The Ukrainian’s relentless attacks gradually taking their toll on Amankul. With the Kazakh never allowed to settle into a groove long enough to mount a challenge, it was Khyznhiak’s hand that was raised as World Champion, a win that also earned him the Boxer of the Tournament.
Light Heavyweight (81kg)
Light Heavyweight Julio Cesar La Cruz met Ireland’s three-time EUBC Champion Joe Ward in a repeat of the 2015 World Championship Final in Doha. Typically assured, the Cuban proved a typically hard target for Ward, and despite enjoying some successful periods, the Irishman struggled to land enough punches to prevent a unanimous win and fourth World title going to the irrepressible Julio Cesar La Cruz.
An eagerly awaited Heavyweight Final saw Russia’s World and Olympic Champion Evgeny Tishchenko face Cuba’s Erislandy Savon in a repeat of the 2015 Final in Doha. This time, it was Savon’s jab that found most success, exploiting the moments that Tishchenko left himself uncharacteristically open, and the Cuban was able to hold off his opponent’s late surge to earn the split decision and the title of World Champion.
Super Heavyweight (+91kg)
Azerbaijan’s Mahammadrasul Majidov set out for his third World Championship gold in four attempts against Kazakhstan’s Kamshybek Kunkabayev. He set about his task with the focus of a man determined to become the first Azeri boxer in history to win 3 World titles. Majidov landed the more eye-catching blows. Kunkabayev was rocked by some heavy right crosses from which he wasn’t able to recover his composure, leaving Majidov to once again be crowned Champion.
Best boxer : Oleksandr Khyzhniak (Ukr)
Middleweight Oleksandr Khyzhniak’s superb run in Hamburg secured him both the World title and the award for Best Boxer. Khyzhniam burst onto the scene in 2014 as a newcomer to the Ukraine Otamans WSB team, before securing bronze at the European Games in 2015. He put together a brilliant run all the way to the gold.
Best team : Cuba
Cuba’s five-gold haul began with Light Flyweight Joanhys Argilago’ triumph over Hasanboy Dusmatov and ended with Erislandy Savon’s brilliant Heavyweight win. In between, were golds for Yosbany Veitia, Andy Cruz and a fourth straight title for Julio Cesar La Cruz. Lazaro Alvarez and Roniel Iglesias backed the champs up with two silver medals.
Best coach : Billy Walsh (US)
USA Boxing had managed just one bronze medal in the previous 3 AIBA World Championships. After Doha 2015, the man who had built Irish boxing back up to be a global force once more, Billy Walsh, was drafted in to take US boxing back to where it belonged. A silver medal for Duke Ragan (56 kg) and bronzes for Freudis Rojas (64 kg) and Troy Isley (75 kg) showed the future is bright for the USA.