Italian superstars take APB to another level

London, Great Britain, 30 July 2012 – Charismatic Lightweight (60kg) Domenico Valentino and Heavyweight (91kg) Clemente Russo have today signed five year contracts with AIBA Professional Boxing (APB), further underlining the popularity of the new programme amongst the world’s top boxers.

Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, APB Board Chairman said: “These two exciting additions add further legitimacy to our new competition. We are convinced that it is the right time to provide something different for our top boxers. With APB, we will revolutionize the world of boxing and establish a blueprint for its development. Finally our athletes won’t have to jump into the unknown while embracing a professional career.”

Part of his national set-up since 2003, orthodox Valentino is competing in his third Olympic Games at London 2012. An Olympic title is one of the few medals missing from his bulging trophy cabinet. One of the poster boys of the Italian World Series of Boxing Franchise, Valentino was part of the Milano Thunder team which won the WSB Team Final in May. An eccentric character, he is addicted to tattoos; at the last count he had 18 including one on his left shoulder commemorating his gold medal at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Milan 2009.

Valentino said: “I was never convinced to turn pro until I was offered this opportunity by APB. I feel safer staying under the same governance and within my National Federation. I know how many fights I will have per year and how much I will get from them. There is no uncertainty, all is guaranteed. I can’t wait for APB to start.”

Clemente Russo is one of the biggest attractions in boxing. The 29-year-old has quite a pedigree after taking the gold medal at the 2007 AIBA World Boxing Championships in Chicago, USA, before coming home with the silver from the Beijing Olympic Games a year later. Russo has since gone from strength to strength, defeating all before him in his first WSB season to capture the Individual Championships belt and going unbeaten in his second season, amassing 14 wins over the two campaigns. Last year, Russo also starred in a semi-autobiographical film ‘Tatanka’ about a young Southern Italian man trying to escape from the crime-ridden mafia-controlled province of Caserta through boxing. The film itself was critically acclaimed and Russo’s performance got excellent reviews.

“Turning pro in boxing is never easy to decide, especially when you have had a successful Olympic boxing career”, declared Russo. “I am thrilled with the career I have had so far, I know what pro-style boxing is about thanks to two seasons in World Series of Boxing, and I now feel ready and happy to join APB, knowing that I will never be left aside.”

Five AIBA World titles, one Olympic Silver Medal and one WSB World Champion title. The APB can be proud of its inaugural signings. A little more than a month after 2011 AIBA World Champion, Azeri Super Heavyweight (91+kg) Magomedrasul Medzhidov, twice AIBA World Champion; Welterweight (69kg) Serik Sapiyev from Kazakhstan; and top Light Flyweight (49kg) South Korean Jonghun Shin have joined the programme.

With the London 2012 Olympic Games just underway, the world’s best boxers might have to choose a new pathway for their career in just under two weeks.

With a clear and transparent competition structure based only on their performance and a secured plan of career, AIBA Professional Boxing (APB) is the best proposal that boxers could expect. APB will start in autumn 2013.

Duke Micah showcases skills with victory in London

London, Great Britain, 31 July 2012 – It was a good day for some of the boxers of the AIBA Road to London program with Duke Micah and Jordan’s Ihab Mahmoud Darweesh Al-Matbouli both moving into the second round of preliminaries.

Jordan’s first ever boxer to qualify for the Games, Arab Games winner Ihab Mahmoud Darweesh Al-Matbouli looked hungry as he led 5:3 after three minutes against Nigeria’s All Africa Games silver medallist Lukmon Lawal. Al-Matbouli shined in the second part of the contest and advanced to the next round where he will now meet Cuba’s current AIBA World Champion Julio Cesar La Cruz Peraza.

Kenya’s Commonwealth Games silver medallist Flyweight Benson Gicharu Njangiru used up his new tactical skills learnt in Cardiff against his Egyptian opponent, 19-year-old AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Hesham Yehia Mehmoud Abdelaal. Both boxers were excellent during the bout but the Egyptian teenager prevailed.

Afghanistan’s Ajmal Faisal was invited to London by the Tripartite Commission while AIBA then offered him training in the Welsh capital. Faisal is only able to train three-times a week in Kabul and was therefore delighted to be part of the Road to Dream initiative. France’s AIBA World Championships bronze medallist Nordine Oubaali was just too strong for him but he did well against one of the medal contenders at Flyweight (52kg).

Two African AIBA Road to London members fought each other in the last 16 as Mauritius’ Commonwealth Games silver medallist Jason Olivier Lavigilante and Ghana’s Duke Akueteh Micah went head to head. Both boxers, born in 1991, went on the attack but it was Micah who stole the show as he claimed the victory.

Tajikistan’s former Asian Games winner Jakhon Qurbonov was quarter-finalist in the last Beijing Olympic Games and was involved in both the AIBA Road to Baku Program and Road to London I. He started well against Tunisia’s strong Yahia Elmekachari and used his height as a weapon but his rival moved better in the latter stages to prevail.

Colombia’s light heavyweight No.1 Jeysson Antonio Monroy Varela also received the invite for Cardiff and in his fight he seemed comfortable early on against Iran’s AIBA World Boxing Championships quarter-finalist Ehsan Rouzbahani. The taller Monroy could not keep his short advantage and ended up on the losing side.

Nicaragua’s Osmar Bravo Amador was class in his comeback victory against Montenegro’s Mediterranean Games winner Bosko Draskovic. He overturned a first round three point deficit to win in style and caused the biggest surprise of the third day of competition.

Cameroon is one of the most developing countries in Africa so it was no surprise that Light Heavyweight and All Africa Games bronze medallist Christian Donfack Adjoufack trained in the Welsh capital before the Games. However Germany’s AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships silver medallist Enrico Kolling was too strong for him as he lost his first bout in London.