The World Boxing Championships got underway in Russia's Yekaterinburg. More than 450 boxers from over 80 countries will fight for the medals up for grabs, in eight Olympic categories. Four Romanian boxers have travelled to Russia to take part in the competition. They are Gabriel Şchiopu, who competes in the 52-kg category, Vasile Suciu, in the 63-kilogram category, Andrei Arădoaie, who will fight in the 91-kilogram category, and Cristian Filip, also in the 91-kilogram category. The latter pugilist has already been edged out of the competition since he sustained a defeat on points in the match against Georgian challenger Nikoloz Begadze, 3-2. Vasile Suciu will fight against Hungary's Milan Fodor on Thursday while on Saturday, in the competition's second round, Gabriel Schiopu will take on Azat Usenaliev of Kyrgyzstan. Also in the second round, the winner of the match pitting Dutch boxer Artjom Kasparian against Armenia's Arthur Hovhanisian will take on Romanian pugilist Andrei Aradoaie.
Two-time European youth champion in the 56-kilogram category, Robert Jitaru, did not travel to Russia since he is still in recovery, according to the management of the Romanian Boxing Federation, so under the circumstances, all hopes are pinned on Andrei Aradoaie. Aradoaie is a European youth champion himself and for him, it is the first time he competes in a seniors' world championship.
The Romanian delegation's set task is to see that as many Romanian boxers as possible book their ticket for the 2020 edition of the Olympic Games in Japan. The first six boxers in each category will secure their ticket for Tokyo. "The main objective is for the boxers to reach as far as the quarterfinals", said the president of the Romanian Boxing Federation Vasile Citea. "I believe the potential we have enables us to achieve a lot more than that, even if only four pugilists compete in the present edition of the World Championship. I am positive we will also walk away with a medal, since, just as we took the liberty to rest Robert Jitaru so that he can complete his recovery program, other teams, I'm sure, did not bring in their top-notch boxers at the World Championship," the Romanian daily newspaper Libertatea quoted Citea as saying.
2011 is the year when Romania last won a medal in the World Boxing Championships. Back then Bogdan Juratoni won bronze in the 75-kilogram category, in the Azeri capital Baku, while 1999 is the year when Romania last won an amateur boxing title. We recall that back then, in Houston, George Olteanu walked home with gold in the 54-kilogram category, while in the 71-kilogram category Marian Simion also won gold. (Translated by Eugen Nasta)