Wednesday, June 12, 2024
SportGloves out: Addis’ boxing revival

Gloves out: Addis’ boxing revival

Addis Ababa’s Skylight Hotel was the setting for a boxing exhibition that organizers and fans hope marks a return of boxing as a popular sport in Ethiopia.

The Addis Ababa Boxing Federation, in collaboration with Zola Wisdom Event, hosted the event on November 30, 2023, showcasing several boxing matches in various weight categories for both men and women, ranging from 54 to 81 kilograms.

Various national team contenders participated in the competition, and one noteworthy match occurred between Hagere Amanu, representing the Dire Dawa City boxing team, and Roman Asefa from Addis Ababa. Hagere displayed exceptional skills and emerged victorious in a gripping contest against Roman.

The one-day event attracted a significant number of boxing enthusiasts, and its primary objective was to promote the sport of boxing and support related initiatives. Boxing, alongside athletics, is one of the sports in which Ethiopia has been represented at the Olympic Games.

Although Ethiopia has had successful boxers in the past, the sport has been stagnant in the country for more than a decade.

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Abdulsemid Mahammed, vice president of the Ethiopian Boxing Federation, is hopeful that this competition marks the beginning of efforts to revitalise boxing activities, and similar events will be held regularly in all African countries.

“This competition signifies the start of a promising journey under the leadership of our newly elected president for African boxing. We plan to continue organizing monthly competitions in Ethiopia and expand them to other African nations,” he said.

The Vice President revealed the Ethiopian Boxing Premier League will debut this year and expressed ambitions to extend the competition to other African regions. Overall, he is confident the boxing competition in Addis Ababa was a significant step forward in rejuvenating the sport of boxing in Ethiopia and throughout the African continent.

In a recent development, Eyasu Wessen was elected as the president of the African Boxing Confederation (AFBC) without opposition. Eyasu expressed his commitment to revive the boxing culture that flourished across the country four decades ago. He also acknowledged the need to effectively utilize the funding provided by the International Boxing Association to strengthen and transform the sport.

The newly-elected President is leaving no stone unturned in his quest to revitalize boxing on the continent, calling on Ethiopian and African celebrities such as filmmaker Amleset Muchie to take part in a planned boxing exhibition.

The efforts to repopularize boxing in Ethiopia are already bearing fruit.

Fikremariam Yadesa, a member of the Addis Ababa Police, is among Ethiopia’s most notable contemporary boxers. He recently finished second in an Olympic qualifying competition held in Dakar, Senegal.

Fikremariam managed to win four of the five fights at the Olympic qualifiers but narrowly missed out on the top spot. Fikremariam went three rounds against Nigeria’s Joshua Omole at 57 kg, but lost 3-2 and was consequently excluded from the Paris 2024 Olympics.

A victory would have ensured Ethiopia’s return to the Olympic boxing stage for the first time in 20 years.

Nonetheless, the performance in Dakar allowed Fikremariam to showcase his abilities properly and claim a spot as a promising boxer for future continental and international boxing competitions.

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