MASERU – The Lesotho Boxing Association (LeBA) today joins the International Boxing Association (AIBA) and the global boxing community in celebrating International Boxing Day set for Belgrade, Serbia.
The International Boxing Day was initially celebrated on July 22 but due to instability within the boxing governing body in previous years, the celebration was cancelled. But now with the AIBA’s new leadership under Umar Kremlev as president, the day is being celebrated again but has this year been rescheduled to August 27.
“AIBA is committed to delivering an unforgettable event, with mass participation from members of the boxing family around the world, celebrities, as well as the general public,” reads an AIBA’s article posted on its website.
The main programme will take place in Belgrade, soon to be host to AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships. The schedule on August 27 includes outdoor training at the main city square with Roy Jones Jr, boxing masterclasses, show bouts and several other activities.
AIBA President Kremlev, according to the AIBA website, will also host a number of media events to continue the conversation about the organisation’s progress and its future plans for further social development of boxing. “International Boxing Day is an opportunity for us to be together as we celebrate this mesmerising sport,” Kremlev is quoted saying by the AIBA website.
“Boxing is beautiful, diverse and unifying. It is discipline, purpose, grit, spectacle, community and a family. Each year, on this day, I hope we come together to share our love and passion for this universal sport.” Joining AIBA’s efforts are over 50 national federations across multiple continents, who are expected to conduct a variety of training sessions and exhibitions bouts to promote and celebrate the day.
LeBA Public Relations Officer, Rethabile Ntiea, said his organisation was supposed to hold a boxing tournament to celebrate the day – but plans were put at bay because of present Covid-19 restrictions that prohibit sports activities. “We are supposed to have a tournament to celebrate this international day as AIBA has advised us to do so, but because of the Covid-19 pandemic we will celebrate it by sending our videos online on the AIBA database to be posted on the International Boxing Day,” said Ntiea in an interview with Public Eye on Wednesday this week.
“We have already done so and now our technical officials are in the process of editing the videos to be sent to AIBA on August 27.” Ntiea said LeBA held a training session at the Lesotho Defence Force’s Makoanyane Barracks last Saturday, attended by a number of local boxing teams where the video to be sent to AIBA were taken.
He said LeBA’s main message as it celebrated the International Boxing Day was that it would continue to revive boxing in the country regardless of the Covid-19 pandemic. AIBA plans to continue celebrating the International Boxing Day annually and hopes that the events on the August 27 will convince more boxing fans, new and old, athletes, officials and everyone else in the community to recognise this day as a day for fun, and inspiring and necessary milestone in the sports calendar.