Vargas firms up Phl presence in AIBA 25 March 2015

1“The ASBC will hold a General Assembly in Kazakhstan on April 12 and ASBC president Serik Konakbayev convened the Executive Committee to discuss the agenda for the General Assembly,” said Picson who traveled with Vargas. “The General Assembly meets once every four years on a regular basis although it may be convened by the President for an extraordinary meeting at any time. Mr. Vargas, as honorary ASBC vice president, has represented the Philippines in the Executive Committee since 2011. Mr. Konakbayev was elected ASBC president during the AIBA General Assembly last November and it was the first Executive Committee meeting he called. There are 15 members in the Executive Committee and some of them attended their first meeting so it was important for Mr. Vargas to show the country’s support for ASBC and AIBA.”

The meeting brought in 10 of the 15 Executive Committee members at the Hotel Royal Tulip in Almaty. Aside from the Philippines, other countries represented in the meeting included Qatar, South Korea, Uzbekistan, Laos, United Arab Emirates and Tajikistan.

“While the meeting took only about 70 minutes, it was quite significant as AIBA executive director Ho Kim had asked for the agenda of the ASBC General Assembly in advance and Mr. Konakbayev wanted to finalize it with the Executive Committee,” said Picson. “It was also a good opportunity to introduce the new members of the Executive Committee and establish close relations with everyone particularly as the Philippines is playing a major role as an active AIBA participant in the World Series of Boxing, AIBA Pro Boxing and AIBA Open Boxing with the objective of winning the country’s first gold medal in the Olympics.”

Aside from discussing the General Assembly agenda, the Executive Committee reviewed the ASBC budget and the competition calendar for the year. “The current pre-Olympic year – the year of fight for a license – is very important for any sport,” said Konakbayev. “Our Confederation should make every effort for more effective representation of our continent in the Olympic ring.” During the Executive Committee meeting, Abduahat Tojibaev of Tajikistan was introduced as a new member and Chang Yoon Seok of South Korea and Orzubek Nazarov of Kyrgyzstan attended as new ABSC vice presidents. Nazarov, 48, campaigned as a pro from 1990 to 1998 and as Oriental lightweight champion, turned back Filipino challengers Ernie Alesna, Francis Velasquez and Boy Ligas and as WBA lightweight titlist, repulsed Filipino challenger Eric Canoy in 1995.

Regarding the 2015 calendar, Picson said Filipino fighters Mark Anthony Barriga and Charly Suarez will represent the country in AIBA Pro Boxing reset to start in May in a gateway to the Olympics. He added that ABAP will send six male and four female boxers to the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore in June. Other major AIBA events which the Philippines will join this year are the World Women Junior (15-16) and Youth (17-18) Championships in Chinese-Taipei in May, the World Men Junior Championships in Bangkok in July and the World Men Championships in Doha in October.

“Mr. Konakbayev is determined to make Asia’s presence felt in AIBA,” said Picson. “ASBC has about 50 member countries and Mr. Konakbayev believes Asia has the potential to make a strong statement in world boxing. He wants to be more active than the previous ASBC president from Uzbekistan who is now based in Dubai.”

Konakbayev, 55, claimed the silver medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics as a lightwelterweight and defeated Cuba’s Jose Aguilar in the semifinals to advance to the championship bout. He also took the silver medal as a welterweight at the World Championships in Munich in 1982. Konakbayev won the gold medal as a lightwelterweight and welterweight at the European Championships in 1979 and 1981. From boxing, Konakbayev became a politician and is a three-term parliamentarian in Kazakhstan.

Picson described the travel from Manila to Almaty and back as back-breaking. “Our route to Almaty was via Incheon where we had a nine-hour stop over and we flew 7 1/2 hours from Incheon to Almaty,” he said. “We left Manila on Friday evening and arrived in Almaty on Saturday evening in time for the Executive Committee meeting on Sunday. On the way back, we flew to Bangkok where we had a four-hour layover before landing in Manila.”

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