| | Boxers have always had great respect for each other,
fighting as opponents never as enemies
Boxing is one of the oldest combat sports which can be traced back to 3000BC. Since then the sport has evolved and is now established as one the oldest disciplines on the Olympic programme. The great story of the sport is that the athletes and everyone else involved are part of a large family, the boxing family, with AIBA at its helm with its 194 affiliated federations.
Where politicians have often failed, boxing has achieved great success, bringing people from different countries together. Boxers have always had great respect for each other, fighting as opponents never as enemies.
Seeing Indian boxers taking part in both editions of the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto International Tournament in Pakistan largest cities, Karachi and Islamabad, was a great moment for the sport. Despite the political tension between the two nations, the sporting relationship continues to prosper with great camaraderie between the two camps. These tournaments were the first in which an Indian sports team travelled to compete in an international event in Pakistan since the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008. The Indian delegation was overwhelmed by the warm welcome they received each time they participated in the event.
Azerbaijan and Armenia were at loggerheads over which country the small enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, in south-western Azerbaijan, which has a majority of ethnic Armenians, should belong to. The armed conflict between the two countries, which began in 1988 and erupted into a full scale military war in 1992, was ended by a Russian led cease-fire agreement in 1994, however tensions have remained high ever since. The relationship between Armenia and Azerbaijan has never really recovered since the Caucasian territorial conflict but despite this fact boxing has managed to rise above the political unrest. Azerbaijan organised two of the largest boxing competitions in the last two years with both the AIBA Youth World Championships and the AIBA World Boxing Championships held in Baku, and the Armenian delegation was each time welcomed with open arms.
The boxing relationship between Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia and Croatia never suffered during or following the Yugoslavian Civil War and the break-up of the state. These countries have joined forces on the international scene and have organised many tournaments where all athletes have always shown tremendous respect towards each other.
Syria has got some fantastic boxers and the country is one of the strongest Arabic nation but as a result of the political crisis in the country, their fighters were unable to attend the 16th edition of the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Baku. However since then, the boxing family has worked hard to welcome them back to the international fold and the sport was delighted to see the Syrian boxers participate at the 2nd Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Memorial Tournament in Pakistan at the end of last as their strong team claimed two gold medals in Islamabad.
The French Boxing Federation held a huge international training camp in Bugeat just before the AIBA World Boxing Championships and once again welcomed boxers from several continents and countries from around the globe to take part in preparations for the event, sharing sporting knowledge, training and a feature of boxing, friendship. Boxing has throughout the years always sent out a positive message, capturing the heart and minds of boxers, the wider boxing family and of course the fans worldwide.