Day four already with gold medal day getting ever closer for our athletes with bronze won in many bouts today under a blue Croatian sky.
We had 23 bouts today in two rings between male and female athletes, and it was an intense day for our judges.
The higher the standard of athlete the smaller the margin of victory with many results coming down as tight as just one point difference. But that point makes all the difference especially with places at The World Games up for grabs.
There were a number of close fights today, with the crowd glad of the giant score -screens allowing them to follow the judges decisions. Results from each round are displayed in red or blue for each boxer with a maximum of ten points available per round. Today even the lowest score was 26 with many boxers scoring a clean 30.
One of the standout fights even for neutral observers was the epic battle between Ukraine’s Oleksandr Stomatov and Belarus’ Andrei Kulebin. Two athletes at the top of their powers. The opening minute was slow and steady.
Stomatov seemed more comfortable in the grapple making good use of the ropes with his moves, and firing out powerful left teeps. Kulebin picked his targets carefully, using his right leg with great accuracy for body blows. In the second Oleksandr moved to the outside, finding his range with low leg-kicks, catching Kulebin well.
Kulebin moved in then repeatedly with right elbow and left knee combos, catching on both sides and pulling off a flying left knee. Both gave it their all right to the end, with Kulebin taking the win narrowly on points.
The second fight in Ring B today saw old rivals Sweden and Finland, two powerhouses for female muaythai facing each other again. This was a cracker of a bout with Isa Tidblad Keskikangas from Sweden taking a points victory over Gia Winberg. And of course the Finnish fans in the crowd were disappointed, so close.
One of the 63.5kgs bouts was also entertaining with Raafat Al-Maliki from Sweden putting up a spirited defence against Itai Gayer from Israel. Gayer took the result on points, with a lovely deceptively loose style mixing elbows and powerful body-kicks with ease.
Many of the Croatian supporters were taken aback at the energetic atmosphere generated between music supporting the rings, bells ringing and loud chants from each nation’s supporters.
Obviously teams like Turkey, Ukraine and Russia who arrived with athletes in each category have a quantity advantage but smaller teams like the Czech Republic and Hungary made up in passion for their lower numbers.