ABU DHABI // Constantin Foia, the national coach, has earmarked most of the boxers he wants to take to the Pan Arab Games in Qatar in December after watching them in action for the first time on Saturday night.
The Romanian was ringside while many of the country's best fighters took part in the Armed Forces Officers Club Ramadan Festival.
"This is the first time I have watched them in a competition, and I have seen some with a lot of potential for the national team," said Foia, who has been on the job for only four months.
Foia said he had drawn up a shortlist for the Games in Doha, and the names will be submitted to the UAE Boxing Federation.
"The plan is to have them in a camp for two months, and then get them to participate in an international competition," he said. "However, all these decision will have to be made by the federation."
One of the boxer's Foia was pleased with was the newcomer, Saeed Mohammed Al Dhahiri, from the Fujairah Club, who lost on points to the experienced Qasim Mohammed Al Baroud of the Air Force in the 91kg and under weight division on the final night of the competition.
"He [Al Dhahiri] is one of the boxers I am quite impressed with," said Foia. "I haven't seen him before, but he definitely was one of the newcomers that caught my eye.
"He has a pretty decent technique and a very good approach. He was up against an experienced opponent and may have won had he thrown more scoring punches."
The first two finals had the spectators on the edge of their seats.
Ahmed Mohammed Al Mahrizi won a split-points decision over Ali Mohammed Al Faresi of the Air Force in the 60kg division in a bout that saw non-stop action. Al Mahrizi celebrated his narrow victory with a somersault to the loud cheers of his fans.
Saeed Al Makhini, a member of the national team squad, also won a split-points decision from Ahmed bin Hanifa of Fujairah in the 75kg in category.
Al Makhani, who was a head shorter than Hanifa, sent his opponent crashing to the canvas with a left-right combination to the head in the first round. Hanifa survived and came back strongly, using his longer reach to good advantage, but it was not enough to create an upset. In the rest of the bouts, 15-year-old Ali Fahad Al Abudi outclassed Rashid Al Nabavi, also 15, in the 49kg class; Hassan Al Madani beat Mohammed Al Masmari in the 52kg class; Ahmed Abdulla Bawadi got the better of Abdulla Salem at 91kg; Omar Al Mamari stopped Mohammed Ismail in the 81kg division; Mohammed Abdulla Madani beat Ahmed Mubarak in the 56kg category; and Mohammed Hamdan Al Mamari outpointed Ahmed Mohammed Al Zaabi in the 64kg class.
In the ice hockey tournament at the Abu Dhabi Ice Rink, Reem defeated Sadiyat 3-0 and Yas edged out Masdar 4-3. The matches continue tonight starting at 10pm.