The Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA) has been granted permission to host the 2012 Africa Open Boxing Championships.
The continental showpiece is expected to take place in June, just a month before the Olympics.
Speaking in an interview, BOBA’s Publicity and Information Secretary, Wiloughby Kemoen, said the showpiece is expected to attract close to 45 African countries to the shores of Botswana.
“This is a big event that gives boxers a platform to play at continental level. This is an AIBA sanctioned tournament and it is one of the biggest tournaments in the continent,” Kemoen said.
He added that the event is the first of this magnitude to be hosted by the country since the 2004 Africa Olympic Qualifiers, which BOBA hosted. He said while boxers competing in this tournament do it mostly for national pride, he expects this year’s tournament to attract the best of the continent’s amateur pugilists.
“With this tournament being hosted after the Africa Olympic Qualifiers, which are due in Rabat, Morocco in April and a month prior to the Olympics, we are expecting a lot of Olympic bound African boxers to come and compete in it to fine tune their preparations,” Kemoen said.
He added that in view of the importance and magnitude of the tournament, BOBA will be doing everything possible to ensure they organize a very successful tournament.
Kemoen said that with the association seeking to host more international events in future, successful hosting of the tournament will give BOBA a good platform when bidding for any future event.
“We were given the go ahead to host this tournament in December last year and at the moment, we are busy organizing committees to prepare for the tournament.”
Kemoen added that the association had already been given the green light by the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) to host the tournament. He said though they were only granted the tournament host status last month, BOBA made a bid to host this tournament way back in 2010.
On whether BOBA has the capability and capacity to host the event, Kemoen said having hosted continental tournaments in the past, the association has shown that it is capable.
“As an AIBA sanctioned tournament, AIBA will be supporting with logistics. As a host country, this will fast track our development and capacity as some of the equipment that will be used during the tournament will be left here for us. Apart from this, as hosts, we will be expected to provide the bulk of referees and judges and, as such, some of our judges and referees will be trained, which will improve our boxing in future,” Kemoen added.