Posted on October 16, 2015

World boxing’s signature event duly delivered. The first-ever AIBA World Boxing Championships held in Qatar and the Middle East inspired and lifted an entire city on its feet over 10 days of exhilarating, non-stop entertainment, and now leaves a lasting legacy in its wake.

Throughout this marquee event, people of all ages and all nationalities came out in numbers to support their local boxers as the global elite went head to head in the ring for the ultimate prize of being crowned World Champion and with it hopes of qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Inside the world-class Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena, the capacity crowds created an atmosphere which touched the hearts of athletes and fans alike across the world.

This was special. This was not only history in the making, but this was one big celebration of the boxing sport to which athletes and fans responded in remarkable fashion. In his speech at the spectacular closing ceremony, a proud Yousuf Ali Al Kazim, President of Qatar Boxing Federation and Executive Director of the LOC in association with Qatar Olympic Committee, said: “These 10 incredible days have once again amplified Qatar’s ability to host major international sports events, and thanks to the global sports hub that is Doha and the abundance of experience that lives within the capital, we have effortlessly welcomed the global boxing elite to the state-of-the-art Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena for this marquee event.

“None of this would have been possible without the hard work by the Local Organizing Committee who has planned everything to perfection. Tonight, all departments and all volunteers can be immensely proud of themselves. Together we have made history; together we have showed the world how much the State of Qatar loves the noble art of boxing. Thanks to your impeccable work ethic and attention to detail, Doha 2015 AIBA World Boxing Championships will leave a lasting legacy for years to come.”

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AIBA President Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu was also speaking in the closing ceremony, where he declared the Doha 2015 AIBA World Boxing Championships the ‘best ever’: “This has been a huge step for the global development of boxing. Bringing the AIBA World Boxing Championships to Qatar and the Middle East for the first time in history was really special, and it was tremendous to see the local communities in Doha coming out in their thousands to see the best boxers battle to be crowned world champions. The organisers have been first class, from the spectacular arena to the incredible facilities for our boxers and the full logistical side of the event. Doha has really set a new benchmark for the AIBA World Championships, and I think it is safe to say that this was the best ever.”

The world-famous Klitschko brothers, reigning heavyweight champion of the world, Wladimir, and former heavyweight champion now turned politician, Vitali, were enjoying the Doha bouts yesterday. “I didn’t expect to see these World Championships being played out in such a fantastic venue, but it was a great and beautiful experience. I remember competing in the Olympics 20 years ago, which was something that completely changed my life. I wish these athletes heading to Rio all the best” Wladimir Klitschko, who will have his next world heavyweight title fight on 28 November against Tyson Fury, said.

The boxing icons from Ukraine joined superstars like Manny Pacquaio and Amir Khan in visiting Doha during the World Championships, where 10 world champions were crowned. The most successful nation was yet again Cuba, winning 4 gold medals, closely followed by Russia with 2 gold, and Azerbaijan, Morocco, Ireland and France with 1 apiece. The next AIBA World Boxing Championships will be held in Hamburg, Germany in 2017. For now though, the boxing is over here in Doha, but the memories will forever live on through the next generations inspired by the global elite on show throughout these 10 unforgettable days.