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Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Tuesday, 8 June 2010 15:51 UK

Weaver and Yafai lead medal charge at Euros in Moscow

By Ben Dirs

Iain Weaver
Weaver is in only his first year with GB's elite 'podium' squad

Great Britain's Iain Weaver and Khalid Yafai reached the semi-finals of the European Championships on Tuesday, guaranteeing themselves a medal.

Featherweight Weaver beat Oualid Belaoura of France 12-7, while flyweight Yafai romped home against Derenik Gizhlaryan of Armenia 9-1.

Light-heavyweight Obed Mbwakongo lost to Frenchman Abdelkader Bouhenia, with four more Brits competing on Wednesday.

Britain's best post-War showing was five medals in 1947 and 1961.

Bournemouth's Weaver, 20, is experiencing a stellar year, having already won silver at the prestigious Prime Ministry tournament in Turkey in April and gold at the Commonwealth Federation tournament in Delhi in March.

BEN DIRS' BLOG

It is Weaver's first year with the elite 'podium' squad, but performance director Robert McCracken has been vindicated in picking him ahead of Luke Campbell in the 57kg category, despite Campbell winning gold as a bantamweight in 2008.

Birmingham's Yafai, who competed for Great Britain at the Beijing Games, gave a disciplined and controlled display in his quarter-final.

He will now fight for a final place on his 21st birthday on Friday against German Ronny Beblik, who controversially denied him a World Championship medal in Milan last year.

"I have been dying to get my revenge against Beblik ever since and now I am going to get my chance," said Yafai.

"I feel like a much more mature fighter these days and I'm so happy with my form.

"The whole team has been doing brilliantly out here and a lot of that is due to Robert McCracken who has done so well for us as coach."

London's Mbwakongo, 21, was level at 7-7 going into the last round but was narrowly defeated 11-9.

There will be high hopes for Liverpool lightweight Tom Stalker when he fights Latvian southpaw Artjoms Ramlavs on Wednesday. Stalker, 25, beat Italy's world champion Domenico Valentino on Monday to reach the quarter-finals.

Khalid's younger brother Gamal, Tommy Stubbs and Andrew Selby are Britain's other quarter-finalists.

Bantamweight Gamal and light-flyweight Stubbs face Irish opposition, with Gamal fighting John Joe Nevin and Stubbs fighting Belfast's Olympic bronze medallist Paddy Barnes.

The last time Britain won more than two medals at the Euros was in 1975, when future world champion Charlie Magri was one of three men to win a bronze.



see also
GB boxers off to a flyer at Euros
07 Jun 10 |  Boxing
Campbell misses out on Europeans
20 May 10 |  Boxing
British boxing names podium squad
28 Jan 10 |  Boxing
Ex-pro McCracken to guide GB team
05 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Woodhall trains Olympic hopefuls
27 Jan 10 |  Boxing
British boxing chief Hickey quits
14 Sep 09 |  Boxing
GB fail to claim medals in Milan
09 Sep 09 |  Boxing
Campbell eyes big prize
12 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Campbell earns historic title win
15 Nov 08 |  Boxing
Edwards expresses GB boxing fears
14 Jan 09 |  Boxing
Amateur boxing explained
01 Mar 06 |  Boxing


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