China gets boxing boost, grassroots devt

By Lu Wenao Source:Global Times Published: 2015-9-21 23:28:01

Annual convention to be held in Beijing next year

The International Boxing Federation (IBF) has chosen Beijing as the site of its annual convention next year, the boxing body said Monday.

IBF's China branch, IBF China, has scheduled regional ranking events since March, with more than 30 bouts having been held in seven Chinese ­cities.

IBF China President Wang Ruihang was also promoted as executive president of IBF Asia on Monday. He said cooperation between the Chinese and American sides would help build better ties between the two nations.

IBF's strategy of developing boxing stars is widely considered a grassroots one.

"It exceeded my expectations every time I come to China," IBF President Daryl Peoples told the Global Times.

"It's not just about immediately having a champion but about sharing a common ­vision [with the Chinese] of developing professional boxing in China."

Chinese boxing is spearheaded by flyweight boxer Zou Shiming, who won two golds at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics during his amateur days. Names like Xiong Chaozhong, Yang Lianhui (Ik Yang) and Zhang Junlong are also in the top tier.

The latest high-profile bout involving a Chinese boxer came in March, when Zou fought for the IBF flyweight title, where he was defeated by Amnat ­Ruenroeng of Thailand. 

"I'm sure China is a very ­talent-rich country," Peoples said. "Somewhere out there are 10 more Zou Shiming."

He said to have more ­athletes exposed is the reason why the IBF is behind the grassroots fights in China.

"We want to develop boxing, they all deserve an ­opportunity," said Peoples, who became president in 2010.

"I think in the next five years IBF China is going to produce several athletes on world stage, and this is just the beginning.

"Once we get more into fighting professional style boxing, I think we can find boxing stars in every division."

The organizers vowed to host 100 fights in China in 2015, with the number of registered fighters reaching 300.

In a boxing world dominated by male boxers, 23-year-old female boxer Hu Die has emerged as a leading star in the IBF China series.

A Zhuzhou, Hunan Province native, Hu made her ­story of improving her family's living conditions through boxing better known through the TV show, Dream of China, in 2013.

Boxers are not the only targets of IBF in China, as the sanctioning body also has seminars for Chinese judges and referees.

Zhang Xudong, senior referee of IBF China, said two ­sessions have been held, with Chinese referees able to handle all the events held in the ­country.

Posted in: Boxing

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