POSTED: June 4th 2014

Boxing: Packing a punch in Qatar!

The Doha Open at the Qatar Sports Club / Doha Stadium Plus
The Doha Open at the Qatar Sports Club / Doha Stadium Plus


It may be a relatively new sport in Qatar, but last week’s Doha Open at the Qatar Sports Club showed boxing has a bright future in the country.

The Qatar Boxing Federation hosted the event after a gap of five years and its president Yousuf Ali Al Kazim exuded confidence.

The tournament started in 2001, but a year later it came to a full stop. Though it was revived in ’08, organisational glitches hindered its progress. But now, it has a new lease of life.

“The tournament was very successful and we’re delighted with the response,” Al Kazim told Doha Stadium Plus.

He has set out his plans for future events. Besides conducting the event annually, he also wants to introduce a couple of other tournaments.

“We’re planning to host a competition, maybe outdoors, during winter. There’ll be another tournament in May before we host the World Championships in Doha in October next year,” he added.

The Doha Open, which had both senior and junior categories, generated a lot of interest. Qatar’s Hozam Nabah, who won bronze at the 2006 Asian Games and gold at ’11 Arab Games, both at home, won the 69kg welterweight class, but his opponent in the final, Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, was also impressive.

“Fahad is a talented boxer, but he needs more fights to sharpen his skills,” said Hozam, after winning 3-0. The QBF chief and the coaches were happy to see the performances of some newcomers.

“One of the main purposes was to find good boxers of this tournament. We’ve found a couple of them, but we would take the expert advice on their inclusion in the training camp,” said Al Kazim.

Cuban Juan Carlos, who started his second stint as Qatar coach last year, was all praise for the tournament.

“We need activities and the Doha Open provided our boxers with the right kind of competition. It’s always great to have an event, which gives opportunities to youngsters,” said Carlos, who had earlier worked in Qatar from 1999 to 2007.

His wards took part in all but one category on the final day. The first day of the competition was reserved for non-national team boxers.

All of them won their bouts against their unknown and unheralded opponents barring the big-bodied Glement Sunday, who lost to Nornureyeddin Hakan in 81kg light heavyweight.

Carlos was happy to see his wards in full flow.

“The event gave my boxers some good preparation before our next assignment in Minsk, Belarus, starting on Sunday,” Carlos said.

“It’s an open competition and I hope some of the top Europeans will take part. It’s going to be a good exposure for our team,” he said, adding the Incheon Asian Games in September would be a real test for them.

Keywords · Qatar · Doha Open · boxing · Qatar Sports Club

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