By Tudor Leonte
Two of the most exciting amateur 135-pounders will meet in the 2022 Junior European Championships final.
Ukraine’s Ivan Pasych and Frenchman Souhil Arezki are ready to put on a show for the ages in the junior bantamweight finale.
The pair already clashed during the 2021 World Championship in Abu Dhabi, when Pasych upended his opponent on all scorecards at the end of a hard-fought contest.
Now, the Ukrainian athlete wants to repeat that success and take home a much-coveted gold medal. The 2021 Junior World Championships runner-up had to defeat Italy’s Samuel Rossi and force Yaman Mjahed to tap due to a well-executed armbar before landing his place in the tournament final. The Ukrainian athlete isn’t one who loves to talk very much as his actions speak louder than his words.
“All went pretty well for the Ukrainian team and for me in general. I did everything my coach told me to do, and I got to the finals. I believe in myself. Everything will go according to plan. I was surprised by how durable Mjahed was. I was expecting to finish him earlier. I’m ready for Arezki. I already defeated him once in Abu Dhabi.”
Training out of Paris, France, Arezki is looking to vindicate the defeat he suffered at the hand of the Pasych in January. The youngster put all his efforts into his two-month training camp. His hard work paid off as he smoothly outclassed all the opponents in his bracket so far. Arezki had a longer path to the final as he had to test himself against Tijani Boulahiati, Ellis Clement, and Plamen Dimitrov.
Even though he’s still a student in his daily life. Arezki already has that championship mentality to leave it all inside the cage. Arezki is hopeful that his clash with Pasych will have a different outcome this time.
“It wasn’t difficult to get to the final. I followed our strategy, avoiding my opponents’ strengths. I know myself very well. I know what I can do. When I compete, I always look for my opponents’ weak spots. I consider myself a complete fighter. I won’t back down in front of Pasych. I know him since I already faced him. He’s a good athlete, but I’ll defeat him this time. I see myself dominating and winning by decision. You’ll see.”
Watch the 2022 IMMAF European Championships live and exclusively from Bella Italia Efa Village in Lignano Sabbiadoro (Italy) from 27 September and 1 October 2022 at immaf.tv.