What you need to know:
- The United Nations Climate Change Conference has dominated global conversations and every traveller headed to the United Arab Emirates is deemed to be travelling for matters Cop 28.
Right from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to the Dubai International Airport, the talk is all Cop 28.
The United Nations Climate Change Conference has dominated global conversations and every traveller headed to the United Arab Emirates is deemed to be travelling for matters Cop 28.
“Are you going for Cop 28?” the immigration official at JKIA asked me before hammering the exit stamp on my passport.
“No, I’m heading for sports matters… There are too many people at Cop 28…” was my response.
But there’s more happening in Dubai than just the November 30 to December 12 Cop 28 deliberations, with the International Boxing Association (IBA) also holding its annual Congress that will climax with tonight’s “IBA Champions Night” series of high-profile bouts.
A total of 180 national boxing federations out of the 195 eligible are attending the IBA weekend of activities here that kicked off with an IBA Board meeting hosted by the organisation’s president Umar Kremlev of Russia on Friday.
Of the 50 eligible African federations, all 50 have enlisted to attend this weekend’s sessions although there is a split in the Nigerian federation with one faction having joined IBA’s rivals, the breakaway World Boxing, who held their Congress in Frankfurt last week.
According to organisers here, the African federations in attendance are Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad Comoros, Congo, Cote d’ Ivoire, DR Congo, Egypt and Equatorial Guinea.
Others are Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique and Namibia.
The rest are Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Eswatini, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The five-star, wave-shaped Jumeirah Beach Hotel is the epicentre of attention on this global boxing weekend that started Friday with the weigh-in ceremony at the hotel ahead of the IBA Champions Night bouts.
The IBA was to then host its Gala Dinner last night before getting down to the business of the IBA Congress at the same hotel today morning, paving way for the Global Boxing Forum, also at Jumeirah Beah Hotel, in the afternoon on Saturday.
The IBA Champions Night will crown the weekend at Dubai’s Agenda Arena.
IBA President Kremlev is expected to open Saturday’s Congress which will, inter alia, discuss the readmission of Switzerland and acceptance of the Norfolk Islands as full members.
“Amendments to the IBA Constitution will be considered, followed by the election of a new IBA Board member, replacing the vacant position for an American Boxing Confederation representative,” IBA’s media department said in a press statement after the body’s Board meeting here.
“Three candidates are vying for the spot – Lourdes Avendaño from Bolivia, Ivonne Nuñez from Ecuador, and Luisa Benitez from Venezuela, who have all been deemed eligible by the BIIU Nomination Unit,” the statement added.
“Protecting the Physical, Mental and Financial Health of our Athletes” will be the theme of Saturday’s Global Boxing Forum with “Financial Support Programme as a tool to excel” and also mental and physical health, brand optimisation for athletes, the introduction of IBA’s New Generation Scoring System, and diversity and inclusion being high up on the agenda.