Lausanne, Switzerland, April 03, 2012: World class boxers, Olympic Games fever is about to grip the world largest continent with the upcoming AIBA Asian Olympic Qualifying Event about to begin in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. With these Championships being the last opportunity for boxers from the continent to qualify for London 2012, the competition is guaranteed to be fierce with 25 quota places still available. The Daulet Sports Complex will be the venue for this explosive tournament where 139 athletes from 28 nations are expected to take part from 4-13 April.
Following the AIBA Oceania Olympic Qualifying Event last month where nine Australian ensured their participation to the biggest show on earth, this time around the best Asian boxers will go head-to-head for the right to wear their countries colours during the Olympic Games. This event will be the second in a series of five continental championships which will confirm who battles it out for gold medals and a place in the history books in London.
The Asian continent secured 28 quota places at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Baku 2011 while Kazakhstan’s Kanat Abutalipov and China’s Zhimin Wang both qualified by winning the World Series of Boxing Bantamweight and Lightweight Individual Championships respectively. A further two quota places will then be allocated by the Tripartite Selection Committee after all Regional Qualifying Events have taken place.
Kazakhstan’s AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist and Asian Games silver medallist Birzhan Zhakipov is the top favourite in the Light Flyweight category where only the boxer finishing top of the podium will make it to the London 2012 Olympic Games. His top rivals will be Japan’s President’s Cup winner teenager Naoya Inoue, Uzbekistan’s Shakhobiddin Zoirov and Tajikistan’s 16-year-old AIBA Junior World Boxing Champion Asror Vohidov. It will be hotly contested in this division. Keep an eye out for Vohidov, who will be making his debut amongst the elite boxers, his performances last year saw him take the prestigious AIBA Best Junior Boxer Trophy at the end-of-year award ceremony held in London.
In the Bantamweight, the Asian region has got still three places up for grabs and it will be up to China’s Asian Games silver medallist Zhang Jiawei, India’s Youth Olympic Games silver medallist Shiva Thapa, Kyrgyzstan’s strong Omurbek Malabekov, Mongolia’s Asian Championships silver medallist Dorjnyambuu Otgondalai, Syria’s Asian Games bronze medallist Wessam Salamana and Thailand’s Athens Olympic Games silver medallist Worapoj Petchkoom to show their worth and book their places for London 2012.
There will only be one Asian Lightweight fighter qualifying for the Olympic Games in Astana with another to be selected by the Tripartite Selection Committee. China’s veteran Liu Qiang, Mongolia’s Asian Games silver medallist Enkhzorig Zorigtbaatar, and WSB stars, Philippines’ Southeast Asian Games winner Charlie Suarez and Tajikistan’s Asian Championships bronze medallist Madadi Nagzibekov, will all be vying to make it all the way.
All podium finishers in the Light Welterweight class will secure the right to participate in the London 2012 Olympic Games. Kazakhstan’s Asian Games winner Daniyar Yeleussinov is the host nation’s great hope while China’s former Asian Games winner Hu Qing, Japan’s AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Masatsugu Kawachi, Kyrgyzstan’s World Combat Games winner Ermek Sakenov, Turkmenistan’s former Asian Champion Serdar Hudayberdiyev and Uzbekistan’s Asian Champion and Benazir Bhutto Memorial Tournament winner Sanjorbek Rahmonov will all be in the mix for medals.
At Welterweight, both finalists will book their places for London whilst the semi-finalist who loses against the eventual winner will also get the chance to compete at the Olympic Games. China’s Asian Champion Maimaitituersun Qiong, South Korea’s Kim Jung Won, Kyrgyzstan’s AIBA World Boxing Championships quarter-finalist Asadullo Boymuradov, Mongolia’s Tuvshinbat Byamba, Turkmenistan’s Asian Championships silver medallist Omar Mametshayev and Uzbekistan’s Asian Championships bronze medallist Nodirbek Kosimov will all have their eyes on snatching one those three quota places.
The medal winners in the Middleweight category will also be part of the London 2012 Olympic Games but with so many world class fighters competing in the division, it will be hard to predict who makes it to the biggest show on earth this summer. Amongst those competing in Astana will be Uzbekistan’s two-time AIBA World Champion Abbos Atoyev, Thailand’s Athens Olympic Champion Manus Boonjumnong, India’s Beijing Olympic Games bronze medallist Vijender Singh, China’s Asian Champion Zhang Jianting, Turkmenistan’s Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist Nursahat Pazziyev, Chinese Taipei’s best boxer Yang Yu Ting, Tajikistan’s rising star Sobirjon Nazarov and Iran’s two-time Asian Games bronze medallist Mohammad Sattarpour. All these fighters will be going all-out to make it all the way, guaranteeing some high quality boxing action.
Tajikistan’s Asian Games winner and Beijing Olympic Games quarter-finalist Djakhon Kurbanov moved down to Light Heavyweight class and will be competing with India’s 18-year-old Sumit Sangwan, South Korea’s current Asian Champion Kim Hyeong Kyu, Kyrgyzstan’s former European Junior Champion Sergey Sklyarov and amongst others Jordan’s Ahmad Suleiman Al-Teimat for those three remaining quota places.
Only the winner of the Heavyweight class will get the opportunity of showcasing his skills in London so expect a real battle for that gold medal in Astana. Kazakhstan’s Asian Champion Vasiliy Levit, Syria’s Asian Games winner Mohammad Ghossoun, Uzbekistan’s rising star Rustam Tulaganov, Iran’s multiple Asian Champion Ali Mazaheri, Jordan’s Arab Games winner Ihab Darweish Al-Matbouli and India’s Asian Games silver medallist Manpreet Singh will all be in there with a shout of qualification.
China’s Beijing Olympic Games silver medallist Zhang Zhilei, Syria’s Asian Championships silver medallist Sumar Ghossoun, Uzbekistan’s AIBA Junior World Boxing Championships silver medallist Sardorbek Abdullayev, India’s Commonwealth Games winner Paramjeet Samota, Iran’s Asian Championships silver medallist Abdulmajid Sepahvandi and Tajikistan’s giant boxer Mekhrodjiddin Karimov will be the main contenders for the last remaining quota place at Super Heavyweight.
All four medallists in the Flyweight class will achieve quota places but it will be fiercely contested as many big names have not yet qualified for the Olympics Games. China’s Asian Champion Chang Yong, India’s Commonwealth Games winner Suranjoy Mayengbam Singh, Philippines’ Asian Games winner Rey Saludar, Mongolia’s AIBA World Boxing Championships silver medallist Tugstsogt Nyambayar, Japan’s two-time Asian Games bronze medallist Katsuaki Susa, Kazakhstan’s Ilyas Suleymenov, Kyrgyzstan’s Azat Usenaliyev, and DPR Korea’s Pak Jong Chol are all in contention for these quotas.