The Boxing Road to Tokyo is in the starting blocks: the African Olympic Boxing Qualifying Event will officially start tomorrow, 20 February, at the Dakar Arena, in the outskirts of Senegal’s capital city.
This is going to be the first of the five Tokyo 2020 boxing qualifiers. Three additional continental Qualifying Events will follow in Amman, Jordan (Asian/Oceanian qualifier, 3-11 March), London, Great Britain (European qualifier, 14-24 March) and Buenos Aires, Argentina (Americas qualifier, 26 March to 3 April). A fifth and last competition, the Final World Qualifying Event, will be held in Paris, France, from 13 to 20 May. There will be 278 Olympic quota places up for grabs at the qualifiers, and an additional 8 quota places will be assigned by the Tripartite Commission to qualify a total of 286 boxers for Tokyo 2020.
Ready, steady, go
Athletes have arrived in Dakar from 39 nations, with a total of 221 boxers ready to compete in 13 events (8 men’s events, 5 women’s events). Their goal: to secure one of the 33 Olympic quota places to be awarded during the African qualifier, which will run from tomorrow through to 29 February.
|Men’s events||Quota Places||Women’s events||Quota Places|
|Fly (48kg to 52kg)||3||Fly (48kg to 51kg)||3|
|Feather (52kg to 57kg)||3||Feather (54kg to 57kg)||2|
|Light (57kg to 63kg)||3||Light (57kg to 60kg)||2|
|Welter (63kg to 69kg)||3||Welter (64kg to 69kg)||2|
|Middle (69kg to 75kg)||3||Middle (69kg to 75kg)||2|
|Light Heavy (75kg to 81kg)||3|
|Heavy (81kg to 91kg)||2|
|Super Heavy (+91kg)||2|
Athletes to watch
Only the best are here, looking for a spot at the next Games, and the list of athletes to watch is a long one.
In the men’s category, one of the biggest boxing stars of the African continent is without a doubt Algeria’s Mohamed Flissi, who claimed silver at the 2013 World Boxing Championship in Almaty as well as a bronze medal at the 2015 Worlds in Doha. The two-time Olympian lost his semi-final bout at the 2019 All Africa Games, but he is ready to claim back his throne in the men’s flyweight in Dakar. On his way, he will meet Botswana’s best boxer, the 2019 All Africa Games winner, Rajab Otukile Mahommed, a 22-year-old athlete who has already proved his skills on multiple occasions.
In the women’s events, we should not forget to mention those medallists from the last African Games who are likely to do well at the Dakar Arena. Bolanle Shogbamu won Nigeria’s first gold last August, competing in the welterweight category, and is looking forward to shining at the African qualifier. On the start list, we also find the young Keamogetse Kenosi from Botswana, who has already secured three African Games medals in her career in the featherweight category, as well as Tunisia’s Khouloud Hilmi Ep Moulahi, an African Games gold medallist in the lightweight category. Athlete Ambassador Khadija Mardi, Morocco’s Rio 2016 Olympian, returned to the sport after a short break and claimed an important bronze medal at the 2019 Women’s World Boxing Championships in Ulan-Ude. She arrives in Dakar aiming for gold in the women’s middleweight category.
Action is set to start tomorrow, 20 February, at the Dakar Arena.
Follow the event live
The event will be broadcast live on the Olympic Channel. In addition to live streaming with commentary in English and French, highlights and news, the Olympic Channel will present a live studio show prior to the quarter-final, semi-final and final matches of each event.
News, photos and results will be posted online on the Athlete365 Boxing Corner platform at boxing.athlete365.org, while fans can join the conversation online using the hashtag #Boxing.
The session schedules for each of the events can be found here.