Cambodia Boxing Fed: Golden times ahead

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Cambodian-Uzbek heavyweight Rajapov Abdullah (front-right) in training. PHOTO SUPPLIED

The Cambodia Boxing Federation (CBF) is optimistic that its athletes, especially Cambodian-Uzbek heavyweight Rajapov Abdullah, will be able claim its first Asian-level medal result, ahead of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games hosted by the Kingdom in May.

CBF secretary-general Buy Sophoan expressed hopes as the federation dispatched four of its fighters to the ASBC Asian U22 Boxing Championships in the Thai capital Bangkok. The event, scheduled to wrap up on January 27, will be the last international experience the Cambodian athletes will get before they compete on home soil at the 2023 SEA Games.

“This is the last Asian competition before the games, and the federation has high expectations. We believe that the three men and one woman we have sent will be coming home with at least one medal – the first that the Kingdom will have earned at this level,” Sophoan told The Post on January 18.

“Our high expectations are justified by the improvement we have observed in their abilities. The intense training regime that they have endured, both domestically as well as in training camps in Kazakhstan, along with the tournaments they have fought in, give us high hopes of a podium finish in Thailand,” he added.

“We have particularly high expectations for heavyweight Rajapov Abdullah. He as very capable fighter, has to be considered the favourite for the SEA Games gold,” Sophoan said earlier.

In November last year, Rajapov fought at the 2022 ASBC Asian Elite Men and Women Boxing Championship in Amman, the capital of Jordan. The heavyweight pug defeated South Korea’s Haneul Jung on points in his first match before losing to another South Korean in his second bout.

He is widely considered to have better chances at the under 22 competition, where he will face less experienced fighters.

The CBF has selected 17 boxers for its SEA Games squad, and is confident of surpassing the target set by the Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC), which has declared that the federation must earn at least one gold medal.

“We will enter 12 male boxers and five female pugs, and we expect them to claim more than one gold medal on home soil. When it comes to silver and bronze, we are supremely confident of surpassing all of our previous achievements at the games,” said Sophoan.