Boxing: AIBA Road to London (II) begins

Lausanne, Switzerland, July 03, 2012: AIBA Road, With the London 2012 Olympic Games just under a month away, the AIBA ‘Road to Dream’ initiative comes alive again with ‘Road to London (II)’ from July 5 -24 in the City of Cardiff.

A total of 44 Boxers that have qualified for the Olympic Games, 40 Men and four Women along with 37 coaches, from 25 countries, have all been invited by AIBA to participate in this gruelling training camp.

All local transportation, accommodation, meals and training will be covered by AIBA. This is an exceptional opportunity for these promising boxers to learn a few new moves, to hone in their technique and get their fitness to the levels required to face the world’s finest in the ring.

The ‘Road to London (I)’ training camp was held from 20 February to 11 March at the same location in Cardiff, before the various AIBA Continental Olympic Qualifying Events and the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships Qinhuangdao 2012. 62 boxers were put through their paces then and the camp was a resounding success.

This month, training and schedule will be managed by Thomas Coulter, a former Olympic Head Coach of Team USA and his Italian Assistant Carmine ‘Nino’ Fracasso.

Cameroon has four representatives travelling to Cardiff, and amongst these are Light Flyweight Thomas Essomba and African Games Super Heavyweight Champion Blaise Yepmou Mendouo, who will be their main weapons in the hunt for Olympic medals. Both these talented fighters have the tools in their arsenal to be a big hit in the British capital later this month.

At the AIBA African Olympic Qualifying Event Casablanca 2012 in Morocco, the Ghanaian team was remarkable as the nicknamed ‘Black Bombers’ took home four Olympic quota places.18-year-old Isaac Zion Dogboe, their top bantamweight athlete, resides in London so he did not have to travel far for the training camp in Cardiff. Heavyweight Maxwell Amponsah will be the team’s second representative in Wales with two further coaches looking to gain invaluable experience.

All Africa Games winner and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Louis Richarno Colin of Mauritius is a medal hopeful at the London 2012 Olympic Games but the 25-year-old Light Welterweight will be battling it out in one of the toughest categories in the competition. Colin made a full recovery from a serious hand injury and has got great expectations this summer as he seeks to demonstrate his real dexterity during the Olympic Games. He, along with Flyweight Jason Olliver Lavigilante and two coaches have been looking forward to the experience of training in Cardiff.

From the American continent, Colombia’s three Olympians, Jeysson Antonio Monroy Varela, Cesar Andres Villarraga Aldana and the talented Eduar Antonio Marriaga Campo have each been invited to this three-week training camp. Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras and Trinidad & Tobago have all sent their boxers to this second phase of the AIBA ‘Road to London’ Program.

Tajikistan’s spearhead Anvar Yunusov, who had an excellent year in 2011 as he won the Asian Championships and secured a bronze at the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Baku, proves just how highly regarded these training programs are by his attendance in the Welsh capital. Yunusov is the world’s top ranked Bantamweight and he travels to London solely focused on becoming the first ever Tajik athlete to take gold at the Olympic Games.

Exceeded expectations in the qualifying events, Turkmenistan are full of confidence this year, their team captain, 26-year-old Asian Champion Serdar Hudayberdiyev is now a good all-rounder after previous camps as part of the Road to Dream program and after failing to qualify for both the Athens and Beijing Games is now relishing taking to the ring in London. Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist 19-year-old Nursahet Pazziyev has also been invited to the training camp, along with two coaches.

Lithuania has two world class fighters competing at the Olympic Games, with AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Egidijus Kavaliauskas and Youth Olympic Games gold medallist Evaldas Petrauskas. 19-year old Youth Olympic Games winner and current European Youth Champion Ricardas Kuncaitis, has travelled as a sparring partner for the Lithuanians, but he will also look to learn a few tricks as he looks to make his mark at the elite level in the next Olympic era.

New Zealand will only have two boxers at the Olympic Games, both of which are women with medal aspirations. These talented Kiwi competitors are Flyweight Siona Fatima Fernandes and the Oceania Champion Alexis Pritchard who fights at the Lightweight.

All participants are now expected to sweat it out during this three week training camp in Cardiff, Wales, as the athletes get in top shape for the Olympic Games which begin in earnest on 28 July. —- AIBA

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