Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Liverpool, Great Britain - AIBA European Boxing Championship 2008

The 2008 European Capital of Culture is all set for Europe's biggest boxing event with Liverpool playing host to the 37th European Senior Boxing Championships for the first time starting on Thursday.
Europe's best boxers, including Beijing Olympians, have all arrived in Liverpool to land the prize as European Champion. The city is to stage the 10 day tournament culminating with a finals day at the Echo Arena on November 15 - the first major senior post-Beijing Olympics tournament after the 1st AIBA Youth World Championships which was held at Guadalajara last week.
The European Boxing Championships, which were first staged in 1925, will be hosted by the Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE), in partnership with Liverpool City Council and the European Amateur Boxing Association (EABA), supported by UK Sport and the NorthWest Development Agency. As the first major senior boxing tournament in the 2012 London Olympics cycle, the 2008 European Boxing Championships is expected to the biggest boxing tournament ever staged in the United Kingdom.
More than 240 boxers, exactly 249, from 40 European countries including half a dozen Olympic medallists and champions, as well as numerous London 2012 hopefuls, will be seeking to capture glory next week.
The host nation has also set a target of two medals, which no England team has managed before. It will be the first time the prestigious annual championships, now in its 40th year, are staged in the UK and further cements Liverpool's position as the nation's No 1 boxing city.
Paul King, Chief Executive of ABA England, said: ''This is a landmark tournament for British boxing and in many ways will lay down valuable markers for London 2012. The Europeans are just as difficult to win as the Olympics, as competitors face national champions in almost every round, so the quality of sport should be of the highest order. And I'm sure Liverpool will put on a show to make everyone proud - the faculties are top class and the boxing fans are among the best.''
Clare Hartley, UK Sport's Events Consultant, said: "This is the first time that the UK has staged the European Senior Boxing Championships and it will be the largest sporting event in Liverpool this year, with over 200 athletes from 40 countries competing to be crowned champion over ten days of competition. We are delighted to be investing up to £201,000 of National Lottery funds in this event through our World Class Events Programme which works to being strategically important sporting competitions to the UK."
The English squad, which is expected to form the core of the 2012 Olympic squad, will definitely be strong in its home ring, despite some of their best boxers either relaxing after the Beijing Olympics or having turned professional.
Darren Langley, 21, (48kg) is the most experienced team member having been a member of the national team since 2001. Langley surpised all by beating Japan's Harunobu Monzen in the 48kg final at the 2008 Tammer Tournament in Tampere, Finland last month.
2008 National Senior Champion Adam Whitfield, 20, (51kg) is one of the new members in the English squad while 2007 and 2008 national senior champion Luke Campbell (54kg) also claimed the a Tammer Tournament title.
Beijing Olympian Joseph Murray, 21, (57kg) is the headline act in the English squad having won bronze at the 2007 World Championships in Chicago, where he qualified for Beijing while 23-year-old Daniel Price (91kg) is one the tallest participants in the Championships at 198cms. Having just missed out on qualifiyng for Beijing and collecting a bronze medal in the 2004 Junior World Championships, big things of the Scarborough resident.

Tom Stalker, 23, (60kg), who started boxing at 19, is also a hot prospect despite his late start in the sport having finished second in the Tammer Tournament when he was defeated by Rachid Azzedine from France (5:3). His target is the 2010 Commonwealth Games and certainly 2012 London Olympic Games.
Junior World Championships and Cadet World Championships bronze medallist Obed Mbwakongo (81kg) won the English national title in 2007 at the age of 19. Mbwakongo finished second place in the Tammer Tournament two weeks ago after being defeated by Babacar Kamara from Sweden in the final.
Craig Dixon (64kg), Stuart Buckley (69kg), 2007 and 2008 national champion George Groves (75kg) and Damien Campbell (+91kg) round out the English team all looking for more experience at international level.
The official weigh in and medical takes place at 6am (local time) on Thursday before the offical draw takes place at the Adelphi Hotel at 10am.
The 2008 European Senior Championships will start at 13.00 at the Greenbank Sports Academy.

Tournament Timetable
Thursday 6/11 Session 1 (1-5pm) Session 2 (6.30pm-finish)
Friday 7/11 Session 3 (1-5pm) Session 4 (6.30pm-finish)
Saturday 8/11 Session 5 (1-5pm) Session 6 (6.30pm-finish)
Sunday 9/11 Session 7 (1-5pm) Session 8 (6.30pm-finish)
Monday 10/11 Session 9 (1-5pm) Session 10 (6.30pm-finish)
Tuesday 11/11 Session 11 (1-5pm) Session 12 (6.30pm-finish)
Wednesday 12/11 Session 13 (1-5pm) Session 14 (6.30pm-finish)
Thursday 13/11 Session 15 (5pm-finish)
Friday 14/11 Rest Day
Saturday 15/11 Finals (7pm-finish) - Official site

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