Gosport boxer Mateusz Bereznicki's arrival on European stage after under-22 championship medal win
Mateusz Bereznicki believes he has now announced himself as one of Europe's top amateur boxing prospects after claiming a bronze medal at the under-22 championships.
Gosport-based Bereznicki, who competes for his native Poland, was beaten by vastly experienced Russian Vladmir Uzunian in a semi-final contest as his quest to claim gold in Italy came up short.
However, the 20-year-old says he can keep his head held high.
Bereznicki was competing against 91kg opponents with more experience, while he was one of the youngest boxers in his weight category.
He conceded his 'disappointment' at not claiming the top prize he was after, but feels this performance stands him in good stead.
Bereznicki said: 'It was my first international competition as a senior and I go back with a bronze medal from the European Championships. For some people it’s a lifetime’s work to get that, and sometimes they don’t even get that.
‘I always believed in myself but I think the fact I went out there and did it - I gave the toughest fight to the guy who eventually became the champion, he beat a Georgian guy in the final.
‘I’m disappointed, I’m definitely disappointed, but I know it could have been a lot worse and I could have been coming back empty-handed.
‘At the end of the day, I’m the sort of person to always go for the best place in everything, but I’ve got to be happy because I’m in the top three in Europe in my age class.’
Bereznicki's battle for a place in the final with a former European champion and world silver medalist at youth level proved to be a fiery one.
The Gosport Amateur Boxing Club member had a point docked in the final round for an attempted headbutt - an action he took as he grew frustrated by his opponent’s tactics.
Bereznicki said: 'The fight was going well and I won the first round quite comfortably - even though I won it comfortably, one of the judges still gave it to the Russian.
‘The second round I lost against all the scorecards and in the third round, the whole fight the Russian was boxing a bit dirty and falling in with his head all the time. He did it once again in the third round and we fell into each other. I pushed away and definitely tried to headbutt him.
‘It’s another learning experience and I can’t really dwell on it. I’m in the top three in Europe, nobody really thought I would get that - on paper I was one of the least experienced boxers.'