People with disabilities should have opportunity to become boxers: AIBA president
Belgrade (Serbia), August 28: People with different disabilities will have in future an improved access to the sport, pledged the president of the International Boxing Association Umar Kremlev at the main celebration of the International Boxing Day in Belgrade on Friday.
Kremlev made the remarks at the press conference in Belgrade attended by former champion boxer Roy Jones Jr. and former Olympic Champion Istvan Kovacs, who is secretary general of the world boxing governing body.
Reflecting on the absence of boxing from Paralympics, Kremlev said that AIBA is gathering statistics about the nature of disabilities and number of such sportsmen in order to start organizing inclusive championships in future.
Kovacs explained that at this point data show that there aren't enough boxers with disabilities in order to organize a competition, but AIBA supports anyone who wants to become a boxer.
Jones, who had won world championships in four weight classes agreed that boxing can prove very useful for all kinds of people, including those with disabilities.
"It's definitely the right sports for them (people with disabilities). I know a few autistic kids that are boxing right now. I think that boxing is great for people with many kinds of disabilities because it gives them an opportunity to deal with themselves more. I love seeing them in it and I am so glad we can be of help to this type of people," Jones said.
Kremlev estimated that the boxing tournament at the Tokyo Olympic was "pretty successful", although it wasn't organized by AIBA, and expressed confidence that this organization will be able to run the top level tournaments.
The organization of boxing competition in Tokyo was taken from AIBA by the International Olympic Committee due to corruption allegations over the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The AIBA hired Richard McLaren experts group to investigate these allegations and the second stage of McLaren's report is expected to be finished in September.
"Our goal is to have an open, clean and honest organization and if we manage to reach all these goals, I don't see any problems for AIBA in future," he assured, explaining that the association overcame debts thanks to marketing and sponsorships.
Kremlev, Kovacs and Jones congratulated the International Boxing Day to the "global boxing family", pointing out that the celebrations unify professional and amateur boxers across the world, while non-boxers got a chance to learn about the boxing culture.
Jones, who came here to promote boxing and hold an outdoor training for young boxers, told Xinhua that he is delighted with the global celebration and the program in Belgrade and hopes it will benefit the reputation of AIBA and boxing in general.
He assured to attend such celebrations in future years possibly in other cities and countries and regions because, as he said: "I do everything I can in order to help amateur boxing, as well as professional boxing. Boxing is still one sport and we are all together in this one sport that we are in."
The International Boxing Day celebration was marked in Belgrade on Friday around a boxing ring amid Serbian capital's main square with outdoor training and youth fights.
Belgrade was selected as the venue of the main celebration as well as the host city of upcoming 2021 AIBA World Boxing Championships which will kick off on October 26.
When it comes to the Women's Championships, Kremlev said that it will be delayed for November or December due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and AIBA will soon announce its venue.
AIBA plans to continue celebrating International Boxing Day annually on August 27, the date when the first edition of AIBA World Championships was held in Havana, Cuba in 1974.