Final report card on the 2020 International Boxing Tournament in Bulgaria

Of local interest: Iuliia Tsyplakova of the Ukraine vs Andrea Medina of the United States

The Bulgarian Boxing Federation’s 71st International Boxing Tournament Strandja 2020 concluded Saturday, January 25, 2020 and since the U.S.A. Boxing Team was heavily invested with both male and female boxers, plus one young lady in particular, featherweight Andrea Medina, from the Bound Boxing Academy, a USA Boxing Club member in our local San Diego County LBC 44 Cal Border, the would be remiss if we didn’t keep a watchful eye over this AIBA group sanctioned event.

After competing for three straight days, the 3-0 Medina was likely looking forward to a break in the action after this fourth and final match with the more-rested Iullia Tsyplakova.
Also hoping to gain a spot on that 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games roster of July 24 thru August 09, we get our first glimpse of the well rested Iullia Tsyplakova of the Ukraine who appeared ready to pull out all the stops in her quest to defeat Medina.  
One can only imagine what Medina’s coaches were thinking when they saw that bloody nose: “Forget the bloody nose, it’s nothing. You know you didn’t come this far to let a little bloody nose put a damper on your chances of going to the Olympics!”

Early on, keeping track of who was scheduled to fight whom and on what day was difficult. Looking back at the original brackets for the female featherweights as proposed on Tuesday, January 21, every bracket except for one had a boxer with a BYE and only Lupe Gutierrez from Sacramento and Michaela Walsh from Ireland were scheduled to compete. This development was a forewarning of the challenge ahead.

Then, on Saturday, the final day of the tournament, there were the over-worked Virginia Fuchs (3-0) of Houston, Texas (3-0), Christina Cruz (4-0) of Hell’s Kitchen, New York, Oshae Jones (3-0) from Toledo, Ohio, Naomi Graham (3-0) from Fayetteville, N. C. plus San Diego’s Andrea Medina (3-0) competing against the fresher, untested boxers.

In her fourth straight bout, Medina (red headgear) had to face the well-rested Iuliia Tsyplakova (blue headgear) from the Ukraine who was no doubt well-schooled in some of the more reprehensible tactics of the sport. Still, Medina worked around these grappling tactics to land the dandy right cross to Tsyplakova’s chin which snapped her head back and then the left upper cut in the photo below (both on the left side). On the right side, we have two photos showing the almost continual holding and the attempt to bang heads.

These tactics included repeated attempts to either head-butt Medina or tie her up with these grappling techniques. Instead of drawing the ire of the referee, the ref appeared to be too laid-back, a hands off referee which allowed Tsyplakova’s infractions to continue. In the end, only one judge had Medina ahead in the scoring while Tsyplakova had herself a 4-1 edge to secure the victory. If scoring the bout, this boxing scribe would no doubt have had Medina winning the decision.

Finding like minded boxing fans in the crowd wasn’t difficult. Check out the expressions of shock on the faces of the six young people in the first and second rows after hearing the announced score. To be perfectly honest, nine of the ten young people in this photo are current members of the Team USA Boxing Team and might be a tad prejudice.
After their match, the Gold Medal winning Uliia Tsyplakova and the Silver Medal winning Andrea Medina received their medals along with the two bronze medal winners.
After receiving her Gold Medal, we see the victorious liia Tsyplakova of the Ukraine Boxing Team (center) being joined by her proud coaches for a photo.

Welterweight (69 kgs.) Osha Jones of Toledo, Ohio (red cap), easily won the second USA gold medal after a dominating performance against Emilie Sonvio of Sonvio, France. Jones won easily on all five judges’ scorecards (5-0) to add another international title to her already impressive resume.

The 2019 Standja Tournament champion Naomi Graham of Fayetteville, North Carolina closed out the day by taking her second straight Strandja title 57 kg title with a 3-2 decision victory over Davina Michel of France.

The sixth and final medal for Team USA, a bronze, was won by flyweight Anthony Herrera of Los Angeles, Calif. The tournament marked Herrera’s first International Medal in his first International Tournament.

The USA Team delegation began the tournament with 24 boxers competing in this the 71st edition of the Strandja Tournament which helps to cement the selection process to determine which 13 boxers will be representing Team USA at the upcoming Olympic Qualification tournaments. That announcement of the 13 boxers will be coming shortly.

With featherweight Andrea Medina’s 3-1 performance in this tournament and her 4-2 record overall against fellow featherweight teammate Lupe Gutierrez, plus the way she handled the rough-housing techniques of Iuliia Tsyplakova in her final match, you would think she now has the inside track to be selected for that Featherweight opening on Team USA’s Olympic Team. In addition, the two veteran coaches responsible for making that decision worked in Medina’s corner on Saturday and throughout the week.

As mentioned in an earlier article, the Team USA Coaching Staff better do their homework and keep close tabs on this young lady from the Monkstown Boxing Club, Aantrim, Ireland. After defeating Lupe Gutierrez on Tuesday, January 21, in Bulgaria, Michaela Walsh, the Irish Elite Featherweight Champ, shown here in a photo taken earlier this year in Ireland, after winning her Amateur crown, pulled out of this week’s competition to spend more time studying her likely competitors in the upcoming Tokyo Summer Olympics. Michaela Walsh and her older brother are part of this formidable boxing group known as the Belfast Fighters.

Here is one last look at the results from the prestigious 71st Strandja Invitational Boxing Tournament held in Bulgaria from January 21 to January 26, 2020

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