Sweden took off to Bulgaria to participate in the 68th edition of Strandja Tournament with a strong team.

60kg Agnes Alexiusson

64kg Yohannes Berhane

69kg Adolpe Sylva

75kg Mariusz Gnas

81kg Denis Kauffer

91kg Gabriel Richards

The first boxer up for us was Adolpe Sylva, he boxed the Romanian, Pita Marian. Adolpe boxed very well, keeping it long and using his feet well, he showed that he had a good variety of punches and reflexes. A comfortable win for Adolpe.

The next boxer up was Gabriel Richards, whom boxed Burak Aksin of Turkey. Burak was short and stocky, Gabriel had too much reach for Burak and beat him well, nearly stopping him in the final round.

Yohannes Berhane then boxed the Spanish boxer, Eduaro Ojeda. This was a good contest with Yohannes being the sharper of the two and getting the decision.

Dennis boxed a Croatian, Leo Cuetkovic. This was another great contest, Dennis was determined and motivated and wasn’t going to lose this one and he didn’t… he earned the decision to go through to the next round.

On Thursday 23rd February, we had two boxers on, Agnes (in the afternoon) and Mariusz in the evening.

Agnes boxed Irma Testa from Italy. Irma, an Olympian, was going to be a test for Agnes, but Agnes boxed superbly in all three rounds and won comfortably… a terrific win.

In the evening, Mariusz boxed Sayid Quabeer of Singapore, Mariusz was fast and powerful, working to head and body at a high tempo. Mariusz won this bout effortlessly.

Adolpe was up again, against the Italian Giovanni Sarchiato from an earlier contest. We noticed the Italian boxer found it difficult coming forward so the game plan was to wait and be patient. When Adolpe threw his backhand, it worked a treat and Adolpe had the decision.

The following day, we had Yohannes boxing the Mauritian, Richarno Calin Louis, this was a terrific contest. I thought that the Mauritian was one of the best boxers in the tournament, he was razor sharp, had incredible movement and reflexes.. but, Yohannes gave him a close fight. There was not a lot in it, but the Mauritian just nicked it.

Mariusz faced the local Bulgarian, we knew it was going to be tough, but Mariusz give it his all and most people thought he had done enough to get the decision, but it was not to be, the judges went for the local boy.

Adolpe in the quarter finals boxed the experienced Greek boxer Alexandras Tsanikidis. This is where Adolpe’s winning streak came to an end, he tried everything and landed a few quality shots, but it was not enough and Adolpe lost on points.

Gabriel then tried to box against Islam Takieev from Russia, the Russian just leaned on and held throughout the contest with no attempt to box, he just didn’t allow Gabriel to get going, it was a terrible contest to watch, the referee should have intervened and cautioned the Russian boxer, Gabriel losing on points.

Then finally in the evening Agnes boxed the USA Olympian Mikaela Mayer. The first round was onesided, Agnes boxed superbly and made the USA boxer hit thin air. Agnes countered and attacked and scored at will. The second round was much the same with the USA boxer doing a little better but still not enough to win the round. The third round saw Agnes pulling away again for a comfortable win. Unbelievably the judges gave it to the USA boxer, which nobody could understand, it was clearly Agnes’s win.

Denis boxed a GB boxer in the final named Thomas Hart. Denis won every round with a powerful display of skilful boxing. In and out and around, he worked to head and body equally well. Denis was a well-deserved winner, winning the Gold medal by a unanimous decision.

Sweden had a fantastic tournament with all six boxers reaching the quarterfinals and coming away with a Gold medal for Denis and the best boxer of the tournament award to Agnes.

I would also like to congratulate our coaches Meseret Bede and Ulf Persson for all their hard work and effort throughout the tournament.

/Nigel Davies
Head National Coach/Performance Director
Swedish Boxing Federation