How do you reflect on the past 10 days here in Hamburg?
What we have witnessed here is the coming together of the very best elements of our sport, showing to the world once again the power of boxing, the quality of our athletes and the spirit of AIBA and our National Federations. Even under the glare of the international spotlight, and the pressure and desire to earn the title of AIBA World Champion, we have seen 243 boxers from 75 countries perform to the best of their ability, with pride and sportsmanship.
How have the 2017 World Championships compared to previous editions?
The year following an Olympic Games marks the beginning of a new cycle with new boxers gaining experience for the upcoming events. This year, we have seen many AIBA Youth Champions who are now participating in Elite tournaments as well as numerous experienced champions. Over the past 12 months, we have been able to attract great new partners to boxing such as Borgward, Adidas and Sportcom, true evidence of the vitality of our sport. Along with the IMG broadcasting deal, together we have helped ensure a unique experience for the boxers and fans and for those watching all around the world. We could only reach this stage by fulfilling our obligations with WADA, working in tandem with the LOC and educating all our stakeholders under the AIBA Family banner.
How will you build on this edition and continue to grow the AIBA World Championships?
This is AIBA’s flagship event, and we want to see it attract the profile and level of sponsors that it deserves. We have some of the best boxers in the world and they must have the best stage to perform on. We will take a lot away from Hamburg and use it to make sure that the forthcoming Youth and Women’s Worlds in India, and the Men’s Worlds in Sochi 2019 and Delhi 2021 are even better and reach a wider audience than ever and continue to please the boxing fans the world over.
Gilberto Mendoza and Wladimir Klitschko were among your guests in Hamburg?
The VIPs in attendance across the final days here in Hamburg showed the international attraction of the AIBA World Championships. As ever, Mr Mendoza and I enjoyed productive discussions on what the future holds for our organisations, and our shared vision is that mutual cooperation will be so much more productive and beneficial to our sport. It was a privilege to share our biggest occasion with him and with Wladimir Klitschko, who did so much for boxing as an Olympic and World Champion and who continues to give so much back to it.
Have you managed to keep AIBA’s current political situation away from the competition?
I have stated openly from Day One in Hamburg that I do not believe it to be fair or right that these World Championships be used as a forum for individuals to push their agendas either among the National Federations or in the media. This tournament is about the boxers and the teams whose hard work has got them here. Sadly, those seeking to undermine AIBA and boxing as a whole have not followed that example, but this simply makes stronger my conviction that we owe our best to our National Federations and our boxers who have worked so hard and pushed themselves to perform at their very best during these World Championships.