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On Monday, February 22, AIBA President Mr. Umar Kremlev visited Bulgaria to open the 72nd edition of the oldest international Strandja Memorial tournament. In total, 220 athletes were registered to take part in the competitions in Sofia.

Before the opening ceremony, the President had a joint training session with athletes from 30 countries.

‘It is always a pleasure for me to meet boxers personally. I enjoy speaking with them, to answer their questions. I strongly believe that the athletes and coaches are our main values. All the National Federations leaders should be closer to them; they should practice boxing to understand athlete’s needs from inside,’ Mr. Kremlev said.

After the session, AIBA President presented boxing equipment to the boxers and coaches.

Following the training, the Minister of Youth and Sports of Bulgaria Mr. Krasen Kralev welcomed AIBA President in his residence in Sofia to discuss boxing development in the country. Mr. Kremlev thanked him for his support of the Strandja tournament in the pandemic situation. They also discussed Bulgaria’s bids for future major tournaments.

‘Bulgaria is famous for its hospitality and high organizational level of tournaments, as well as strong boxers and coaches. I am confident that the country deserved to hold various major competitions in the future. This is important not only for the popularization of boxing but also for the sports heritage of the country and the inspiration of the young athletes,’ Mr. Kremlev stressed.

‘My sports career started in boxing, I know and love this sport. Boxing is very important for Bulgaria, and the traditions in it are really rich,’ the Minister said.

‘That’s why in Bulgaria we strive to make boxing as much spectacular and popular, as possible,’ he added.
In conclusion, Mr. Kralev wished AIBA success in the reform process.

In the evening, the Strandja Memorial tournament was officially opened by the AIBA President.

AIBA World Champions are participating in the tournament, including Ukrainian Oleksandr Khyzhniak, Brazilian Beatriz Ferreira, Bulgarian Stanimira Petrova, Irish Kellie Harrington, Turkish Busenaz Surmeneli and others, as well as Olympic champion Shakhobiddin Zoirov from Uzbekistan.