Sixth European Union Championships - Katowice, Southern Poland
By Michael O’Neill
June 7, 2011
(JUNE 7) The sixth European Union Championships, under the auspices of the European Boxing Confederation (EUBC) took place in the Southern Poland city of Katowice between 31st May and 5th June.  Ninety three boxers representing twenty nations entered these championships which were held at the Spodek Sports Hall in the Silesian capital – an impressive 12,000 seater arena, which resembles a U.F.O – hence “Spodek” or saucer.  Competing countries included Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey.

Only the hosts and the Turkish squad entered competitors in all ten weight classes while Ireland had an unusually large team of eight, several aiming to gain valuable experience of international competition) . England, France, and Hungary each sent seven athletes to the event.

Though this was seen as an important event ‘on the road to London 2012’ several nations did not compete, for one reason or another – some due to the cost. Romania missed the Championships due to their Federation's financial problems, according to A.I.B.A sources whilst the Czech Republic, Denmark , Portugal and Sweden also did not compete here.

In the ring, there were some notable successes for the home nation, whose boxers reach all ten finals, winning four Golds and ending up with the team of the tournament award on 37 points followed by Turkey with 17 and England with 15.

Not for the first time, and on her form in Katowice not for the last time, Ireland’s Katie Taylor, three times world champion and four times European titleholder became European Union Champion too, for a record fourth year in a row.

Hardly surprisingly the 24 years old from Bray, County Wicklow, who has also been capped for Ireland at Soccer on more than 40 occasions in all grades, received the coveted “President’s Award” as boxer of the tournament. In Katowice she scored impressive wins over Bulgaria’s Denitza Eliseeva (11:6), Marzia Davide of Italy (16:5); England’s Chantelle Cameron 28:10 and in the final Poland’s own Karolina Graczyk 25:9.

Talking after Taylor’s win on Saturday a very proud IABA Director of Boxing, Dominic O’Rourke said : "Katie was absolutely brilliant, .She produced another fantastic performance today. She showed great balance and coordination in the final. She peaked over the last two days at these Championships and we're thrilled with the win."

"Katie boxed out of her skin, added Irish team manager Majella Loftus. "She was 5-1 ahead after the first round and she just kept getting stronger and stronger after that. It was a fantastic all round performance."

Taylor’s victory meant that Ireland obtained one gold and two bronze medals from the 2011 European Union Championships as Lauragh O'Neill and Taylor's Bray Boxing Club team-mate Laoise Traynor both won bronze by virtue of reaching the semi-finals.

Turkey won two Golds,the 48 kg title going to Meltem Akar a 17:9 winner over Poland’s Patrycja Bednarek whilst Ayse Tas took home the Gold in the 54kg class, winning 14:12 over local favourite Sandra Drabik .

With the London 2012 Olympic Games being held at the Excel Centre in just over a year from now, the English team was delighted to collect two Gold medals and a Bronze in Katowice.

Much to the surprise of the Polish audience, World and European titleholder, Karolina Michalczuk was well beaten on a 17:13 score line by England’s 51kg contestant, Nicola Adams – a big surprise for all but the English delegation whilst at 64kg, Natasha Jonas defeated the highly experienced Oliwia Luczak, the German-based Polish veteran. Score here? 17:7 to Jonas.

Four golds to Poland’s excellent Sandra Kruk (57kg), Lidia Fidura (75kg),Katarzyna Furmaniak (69kg) and Anna Slowik (81+kg) left the home crowd and the organisers,happy. Fine win too for Hungarian, Timea Nagy at 81kg.

Interestingly the English management chose to ‘blood’ the 19 years old former kick boxer champion from Northampton, Chantelle Cameron at 60kg whilst asking Jonas to move to 64kg. The experience gained by Cameron against Taylor will no doubt stand her in good stead in the future though with Great Britain also having the formidable Amanda Coulson and the young Ruth Raper in their Olympic Podium squad, the GB selectors will have a major headache when choosing who represents the country in London.

Next weekend’s the English ABAE Championships take place in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire when others,such as Coulson – and Nina Smith - who could not make the Katowice event will be pressing their claims.

The event had ten different weight classes as the official AIBA rules note, from 48kg up to over 81kg weight classes. The most competitive battles were indeed at the Olympic weight classes. The Katowice tournament was the first major event in the preparation for the upcoming European Women's Championships which will be held at Rotterdam in mid-October when the other non -European Union nations such as Russia will take part.

In conclusion, a very well organised Championships in Katowice for which much praise to the Polish Boxing Federation (P.Z.B) – no debatable decisions and some excellent coverage by TVS in Poland and live online coverage of all the big fights via .

Above all, two top class performances from Katie Taylor. Yes, Irish eyes were smiling in Katowice.

Official results from Katowice:

48 kg Meltem Akar (Turcja)- Patrycja Bednarek (Polska) 17:9
51 kg Nicola Adams (Anglia) – Karolina Michalczuk (Polska) 17:13
54 kg Ayse Tas (Turcja) – Sandra Drabik (Polska) 14:12
57 kg Sandra Kruk (Polska) – Swietłana Stanewa (Bułgaria) 19:14
60 kg Katie Taylor (Irlandia) – Karolina Graczyk (Polska) 25:9
64 kg Natasha Jonas (Anglia) – Oliwia Łuczak (Polska) 17:7
69 kg Katarzyna Furmaniak (Polska) – Marichelle de Jong (Holandia) 12:10
75 kg Lidia Fidura (Polska) – Nouchka Fontijn (Holandia) 15:10
81 kg Timea Nagy (Węgry) – Sylwia Kusiak (Polska) 18:16
+81 kg Anna Słowik (Polska) – Demir Sennur (Turcja) 12:8




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