The 2007 amateur AIBA World Boxing Championships wrapped up on Saturday in Chicago. VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer covered the event that featured 557 fighters from 107 countries and has filed this report.
The Russian team came away with the most medals with 8, but Russian boxers won only half of their 6 title bouts in the 11 weight divisions.
One of them was middleweight (75 kg) Matvey Korobov, who successfully defended his world title with a dominating 29-4 win over Venezuela's Alfonso Blanco. Korobov was presented his gold medal by former professional heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield of the United States.
At his post-match news conference, Korobov was asked about Holyfield presenting the award. "It was a great honor for me," he said through a translator. "Holyfield is a well-known boxer who has had great fights and who is well-known around the world. Any boxer would be happy to be where I am right now, and I am honored to get the medal presented by Holyfield."
Russian Sergey Vodopyanov won the bantamweight (54 kg) gold over Mongolian Enkhbat Badar-Uugan, 16-14; and teammate Albert Selimov took the featherweight (57 kg) title over Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine, 16-11.
The United States and Italy each captured two world titles. That was an improvement for the American team, which won two bronze medals at the last world championships two years ago.
One of the bronze medals went to flyweight Rau'shee Warren, and this time he earned the gold. Warren outpointed Thailand's Somjit Jongjohor, 13-9. "I got the (gold) medal," he said. "Like I told everybody, I worked hard for it. It was a bit of a rough fight. It was awkward, but I stayed in there."
Teammate Demetrius Andrade did not even have to go the distance in his welterweight bout. He overpowered Non Boonjumnong, injuring the Thai boxer's right arm, and the referee stopped the bout with 15 seconds left in the second round. Andrade led at the time, 11-3, and he said this was a big step as he aims for Beijing next year.
"When I came here, that was the whole game plan to get that medal and I succeeded," said Andrade. "This is just the next biggest thing to the Olympics, you know. Everybody I fought [here] is going to be there, and they'll know I'm coming, and I can even get better from what I did today."
Italian boxers won the gold medals in the two top classes. The heavyweight (91 kg) title went to Clemente Russo, who edged Russian Rakhim Chakhkeiv, 7-6; and the super heavyweight (+91 kg) crown went to Roberto Cammarelle, who beat Vyacheskav Glazkov, 24-14.
Frankie Gavin made history for England by winning the lightweight (60 kg) title over Italian Domenico Valentino, 18-10. "It feels brilliant," said Gavin. "I'm England's first-ever [amateur boxing] world champion. How many boxers have there ever been from England that have been to worlds, and I'm the first one to do it."
In all, 19 countries won medals at these AIBA World Boxing Championships. Russia led the way with 8, followed by China with 5 and Italy with 4.
The other three gold medalists were China's Zou Shiming in the light flyweight (48 kg) class, Serik Sapiyev of Kazakhstan in the light welterweight (64 kg) class, and Abbos Atoev of Uzbekistan in the light heavyweight (81 kg) class.
This was boxing's first qualifying event for next year's Olympics. Eighty berths were at stake, and fighters from 37 different countries assured themselves places next year in Beijing.