AIBA President, Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, along with AIBA Vice-President and European Boxing Confederation President Dr Humbert Furgoni travelled to the Bulgarian capital Sofia on Monday 23 April to discuss all things boxing with the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr Rosen Plevneliev, the Bulgarian Prime Minister, Mr Boyko Borisov, the Minister of Sports, Mr Svilen Neykov and both the President of Bulgarian Boxing Federation, Mr Krassimir Ininski and the National Olympic Committee (NOC) President, Mrs Stefka Kostadinova.
The main focus of the visit centred on the AIBA Professional Boxing (APB) program and how Bulgaria can play a major role in its development. AIBA President first detailed the work done by AIBA in recent years with regards to the growth of the sport and then the efforts being made to consolidate the grassroots level. With the APB project, it was highlighted that the National Federations would now be able to play key roles in boxers' entire careers and would protect these athletes from the perils of the professional game.
All parties agreed during these talks that Bulgaria had a vital role to play in the future of the sport and that the new cooperation between AIBA and the Bulgarian Boxing Federation, under its new leader Mr Ininski, would bring back the glory days to one of the traditional leading nations in boxing. They also discussed possibilities of holding future major AIBA events in the country.
These local authorities strongly supported this development in the sport in Bulgaria and were keen to get the opportunity of hosting future international AIBA competitions. The Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, boxed in his youth whilst the Minister of Sport was a champion rower before training his wife to Olympic medals, so both were in total agreement into the benefits and impact that the cooperation with AIBA could have in the country. The NOC president Stefka Kostadinova still holds the world record in women's high jump so was delighted to see the concerted efforts being made for the development of sport in Bulgaria.
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