Bahrain Boxing Federation (BBF) technical development manager and national team coach Tony Davis lavished high praise on a Bahraini team that won a rich medals haul at the four-nation UAE Open Boxing Championships which concluded yesterday in Abu Dhabi.
Ten out of the 11 participating Bahraini boxers won medals, including seven golds, one silver and two bronzes, against opponents from Qatar, Iraq and hosts, the UAE.
“Ten medals from an 11-member team is a pretty good showing,” Davis told the GDN shortly after returning to Bahrain last night.
“We were easily the best team there and our boxers put on fantastic performances.”
Boxers fought in three different categories – Junior, Youth and Elite – in the four-day competition with the Bahraini pugilists easily outclassing most of their opponents.
“In the Junior 48kg category, Mohammed Moamen put on a good show before losing on points in his semi-final and picking up a bronze,” Davis said.
“And, in the 80+kg category, Adam Sameer was the gold medallist after winning the final on points.”
In the Youth category, Bahrain won two golds with Manar Tamer triumphing in the 50kg (Female) division and Ali Bukhlaf knocking his opponent out in the final of the 67kg male bout.
“Manar won her final in comfortable fashion,” Davis continued.
“And Bukhlaf, who is the most seasoned of our fighters, made short work of his opponents in the 67kg division, stopping his opponent in the second round of his first fight and winning the final by KO.”
Bahrain boxers excelled in the Elite category also, with Azat Makhmetov, in the 54kg division; Nurkhan Mussabeyev, in the 86kg division; Rasheed Mehrinfar, in the 92kg division and Danis Latypov, in the 92+kg division, all winning gold medals.
Ali Jaafar Asad won a bronze in the 80kg division while Abdullah Alabdullah, representing Bahrain for the first time, lost in the quarter-final of the 63.5kg division.
“But he put in a great performance against an African professional fighter,” Davis said.
“He even put his opponent down in the first round and deserved to win. But the judges had different ideas.
“In Ali Jaafar Asad’s semi-finals fight also, he deserved to win but the judges went the other way.”
Davis reserved special praise for Maryam Khamis, who represented Bahrain for the first time in only her third-ever bout, and came up against an experienced Ukranian international in her final.
“Maryam gave it her all,” Davis said.
“But she was up against a seasoned boxer who is an international 10-fight professional, national champion and WBC veteran.
“She managed to get two rounds in but, halfway through the third, I was forced to throw that towel in because I didn’t want her to get seriously hurt because of her lack of experience.”
Overall, Davis added, he was more than satisfied with the team’s showing in the championship.
“Of course, as I said earlier, we were easily the best team in the championship so I have great appreciation and admiration for our boxers.
“Also, this served as great preparation for what’s coming up. Denis and Azat will be competing in the upcoming Asian Games as well as the Riyadh World Combat Games in October so this will stand them in good stead.
“Also, we showed the rest of the Gulf region, including Iraq as well as some of the Africans, that Bahrain are a really good boxing outfit. And we’re only getting better and better.”
Meanwhile, Bahrain Boxing Federation president Rashid Flaifal praised Bahrain team’s performance in the UAE.
He attributed the achievements to the support of Supreme Council for Youth and Sport first deputy chairman, General Sports Authority chairman and Bahrain Olympic Committee president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa.