UAE set to host Asia's best teenage boxers at the Asian Boxing Championships
The championship is set to draw boxers from around 32 countries at the 2,500-seat capacity Zayed Sports Complex in Fujairah
Teenage boxers from more than 30 countries will travel to the UAE in October to compete in the Asian Boxing Championships for boys and girls aged 15 and 16.
Since being elected president of the Asian Boxing Confederation (ASBC) last year, Emirati Anas Al Otaiba has set about increasing boxing competitions for young fighters.
He initiated the Asian Schools Championship for boys 13-14 in Kuwait in August, and now brings the first continental competition to the UAE.
The championship, held under the auspices of the ASBC, is set to draw boxers from around 32 countries at the 2,500-seat capacity Zayed Sports Complex in Fujairah from October 8-18.
“We will know the exact number of countries and entries after the closing date for registrations on September 10,” Ali Salameh, executive secretary of UAE Boxing Federation (UAEBF), said on Tuesday.
“It’s also the first time ever the ASBC is staging the girl’s championship in the age category. With 13 different weight divisions for both boys and girls, we expect the biggest ever participation in this competition.”
The UAE named a 15-member squad for a 10-day camp in Abu Dhabi, starting on Tuesday. They will select the final eight for a further 20-day camp in Ukraine from September 10.
“We have two girls in training but the federation has yet to decide if they are ready for the competition,” said Bassam Ghanem, executive administrative secretary of the UAEBF.
In April, Hanan Ibrahim Al Zyodi and Fahima Falaknaz created history by becoming the first Emirati females to compete in the Asian Women’s Boxing Championship in Thailand. The two Emirati females are now aiming to represent the country at the 2022 Asian Games in Zhejiang, China.
“Hanan and Fahima have blazed a trail and have created a lot of interest among the Emirati girls to take up the sport for both fitness and competitions,” said Ghanem.
“The Asian Schools Championship was an overwhelming success and it provided the boys an early introduction to international competition.”
The UAE had four entered in the inaugural schools championship with Khaled Al Kardi returning with a bronze in the 52-kilogram.
Prior to that, the Emirati pugilists clinched a silver and bronze in the Arab Youth (16-17 years) Championship in Egypt on March. Saud Abdulwalid won silver in the 91kg and Saif Musabah took bronze in the 75kg.
“Boxing in the UAE is heading in the right direction with more competitions in both open categories and age groups,” said Ghanem.
“The federation has around six to seven domestic competitions and combined with the international events that’s plenty of encouragement for the Emirati youth. It goes without saying boxing is an Olympic and Asian Games medal prospect.”
Updated: August 20, 2019 05:14 PM