A record number of 272 boxers from 39 countries have registered for the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) African Olympic Qualification Event.
The event kicks off on March 11 at the Paposy boxing venue in Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé.
The continent’s best male and female boxers will be vying for the 36 qualification places – 30 slots for men and the remaining for women – on offer for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
With a record number of entries and 36 slots available to the men and women in Yaoundé, this tournament is a key route to Rio 2016 Olympic Games and I am looking forward to an intense competition for the coveted places.
Moroccan welterweight Mohammed Rabii, the World Series of Boxing (WSB) Boxer of the Year for 2015, and four other athletes from the continent have already qualified.
Besides Rabii, Morocco’s Achraf Kharroubi, Algerians Abdelkader Chadi and Ilyas Abbadi, and Egypt’s Hosam Abdin are also assured of their places at the Rio 2016 games.
AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) fighter Mohamed Arjaoui and Rabii’s younger brother Hamza represent Morocco’s strongest chances of getting more qualification places.
Algeria’s World Championship silver medalist Mohamed Flissi and two-time Olympian Abdelhafid Benchabla will also be among the favourites to reach Rio 2016.
“The African continent’s boxers continue to show their prowess and strength at AIBA boxing events, as highlighted by Morocco’s Mohammed Rabii who was crowned the first African AIBA world champion in Doha in 2015,” said AIBA President C. K. Wu.
“With a record number of entries and 36 slots available to the men and women in Yaoundé, this tournament is a key route to Rio 2016 Olympic Games and I am looking forward to an intense competition for the coveted places, ” Wu said.
Hosts Cameroon have high hopes for rising young star Wilfried Dieudonne Seyi Ntsengue while Tunisia, Egypt and Nigeria all have experienced boxers going for gold.