Ahead of the start of the World Championship at the home of our boxers we decided to ask Sports Director of the Kazakhstan Boxing Federation Serik Sapiyev a few questions and requested him to evaluate the chances of our boxers at the world championship.
— Serik, there remains so little time before the start of the World Boxing Championship in Almaty. What is your view of the chances of the Kazakhstan National Team at the world
championship? — I think that our guys have rather good chances for success. I was at the training camp, attended Kazakhstanis vs. Cubans sparring bouts — and the guys showed a very good performance. Our guys have very high chances, and that the world championship will take place in Almaty increases our hopes for success even more. If the tournament were held in any other country, we would have lesser chances. But I believe, that the walls help at home and support of the fans, relatives and dearest contribute much to the achievement of the success.
— Who from among our guys, in your opinion, will be able to win gold medals? — The team has many fighters who are capable of competing for gold awards. I do not want to single out any one in particular. I will cheer for Birzhan Zhakipov. I hope he will win a gold medal.
— What national teams will be the main competitors to our team for the first team-based place? — Cuba and Russia. I do not see others as competitors.
— How do you think the fact that the world championship will be held on the home land may affect the psychological state of our boxers? — It depends on the psychology of the boxers, but I reckon that the support of our public will have a favourable bearing on our sportsmen.
— When you used to get out to the ring which way was easier for you to box when the spectators supported you or did not? — As a matter of fact, it does not make much difference to me. But, of course it would be more pleasant to box when the public supported, charted and applauded you — it is always pleasing.
— You are the only Kazakhstan two-time world boxing champion. How do you think is there anyone out of Kazakhstan sportsmen who can repeat your success in the foreseeable future? — Most likely, there is. We have talented young guys who can repeat it. In Kazakhstan a good generation of young boys and juniors is growing and I think that out of them someone will be able to achieve this too.
— Are there any specific secrets of success at world championships? — You need a desire — a great desire and confidence in that you will be able to do it. Recently I was trying to recall the 2005 world championship — my first world championship. I recalled the final bout vs. an Uzbek boxer. I had a huge desire to win that bout. My competitor was boxing well and he was skilful but was somewhat tired and at a backdrop of his tiredness I had a huge desire to win. Of course, he had the same desire but mine was many times stronger. So, you need to have a big desire and confidence in your strengths and success.
— What do you think of new rules for amateur boxing? — I guess that these modifications to the rules are for the better. Initially, most likely, there will be splitting. Boxing will be interesting and more spectacular and sportsmen will be boxing rather than staying closed on guard. Not only will they count blows but consider the way you are boxing, the precision of your blows, your technique and stamina — these will all benefit our sport.