World boxers trade blows in Dubai from March 31-April 1
It came as a surprise when Waleed Mohammed Saleh, event manager at Golden Star, the organisers of The World Arab Boxing Championship, explained that Arab boxing is not a boxing tournament of Arabic boxers, but a style of fighting: ‘It’s similar to kickboxing, but there are different ways to play it – the boxer can use his hands, his legs... and his head.’
Though we at Time Out Towers may not fancy using our skulls as means of delivering a blow to an opponent, it seems there are plenty who do. ‘I have 60 boxers from all over the world coming to fight, and they’re not all Arab, they are from everywhere,’ says Saleh. But how much regional talent can we expect to see in the ring during the two-day competition from Saturday March 31 to Sunday April 1? ‘I have around 20 signed up from the UAE, Egypt and Morocco,’ he continues, and reveals that the first day will feature the men’s bouts, while the second day will see women in the ring, ‘We’ve got female boxers from Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt.’
Though the first Arab Boxing Federation was established in 1972, followed by the Arab Boxing Association in France in 2005 (where its headquarters are still located), Saleh claims the sport has been around for at least 60 years, while an announcement by the Dubai Sport Council suggested that Arabian boxing is ‘one of the ancient games, commenced in earlier [sic] ’70s.’
Either way, the sport is a big enough deal to attract the attention of heavyweight champion Daniel ‘Danny’ Williams, also known as The Brixton Bomber, who will be a guest at the event and who the organiser’s team are describing as one of the championship’s highlights. Though we doubt regional boxers will be giving up their share of the limelight without a fight, there will be talent flying in to square up from as far flung as the US, Switzerland, Holland, Portugal and Colombia.
Not that enthusiastic about boxing but duty-bound to accompany your flatmate? There is plenty of live entertainment on the cards for both days, with a laser show, acrobatics shows and fireworks on top of performances from musicians from around the region and further afield.
The World Arab Boxing Championship Dubai 2012 runs Saturday March 31 to Sunday April 1. Gates open at 4pm both days, event starts 6.30pm. Tickets are priced from Dhs200 to Dhs500. The Aviation Club, Garhoud. www.timeouttickets.com
Meet the boys…
Rosario Presti, 28, Italian Weight: 71kgs, middle weight. History: Two-time world champion. Total fights: 126. Wins by knockout: 96.
Hablanc Kevan, 25, Dutch Weight: 71kgs, middle weight. History: Three championship wins in the Netherlands, two European championship wins. Total fights: 93. Wins by knockout: 81.
Eduardo Martinez, 29, American Weight: 75kg, super middle weight. History: Three-time world champion. Total fights: 65. Wins by knockout: 42.
Loil Nader, 25, Iraqi Weight: 86kg, heavy light weight. History: Two-time world champion. Total fights: 44. Wins by knockout: 36.
Daniele Moro, 28, Swiss Weight: 66kg, middle weight. History: Two-time world champion. Total fights: 78. Wins by knockout: 63.
…And the girls
Nora Ali, 25, Egyptian Weight: 61kg, light weight. History: Amateur challenger. Total Fights: 14. Wins by knockout: 9.
Khadija Aldbala, 22, Moroccan Weight: 50kg, fly weight. History: Tournaments challenger. Total fights: 38. Wins by knockout: 34.
Dolly MacBean, 23, Madagascan Weight: 56kg, feather weight. History: Two time world champion. Total fights: 34. Wins by knockout: 30.
Hatice Ozyurt, 25, Turkish Weight: 63kg, super light weight. History: World champion. Total fights: 51. Wins by knockout: 42.
Marianka Bestebeur, 27, Dutch Weight: 66kg, middle weight. Championships: World champion. Total fights: 36. Wins by knockout: 28.