Thailand Boxers Being Trained By Cuban Coach For SEA Games
By Kittipong Thongsombat
A cramped calendar for the month of August has forced the Thailand Boxing Association to prepare two separate sets of fighters for this year’s SEA Games and World Championships.
TBA president Pichai Chunhavajira said that this year the association will be focusing on the SEA Games in Malaysia from Aug 14-24 and the World Championships in Germany from Aug 25-Sept 5.
With both events taking place in August, the boxers will be divided into two teams, said Pichai, adding: “We hope to be successful in both events.”
At the 2017 SEA Games, despite there being six weight categories for men only, each county is allowed to field a maximum of four fighters.
The Thai boxers are now training under the supervision of Cuban coach Julian Ricardo Gonzalez Cedeno, who arrived in November.
The new coach was hired after Thailand’s failure to win any medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics in August, which was the country’s worst performance in the boxing event of the Games in 40 years.
Thailand also had an unimpressive campaign at the 2015 SEA Games with Wuttichai Masuk being the country’s only male champion in Singapore.
Pichai said the association had received financial support totalling 105 million baht from the public and private sectors for 2017.
Besides sending the Thai boxers to join events aboard, the TBA will stage the Thailand Championships in Nakhon Ratchasima (Jan 10-16), Asian Youth Championships in July and Thailand Youth Championships, dates for which will be announced later.
More than 200 boxers have confirmed their participation in the nine categories for both men and women at the Thailand Championships, which start on Tuesday.
The TBA boss added that the new rules announced by Aiba, the world governing body, allow professional boxers to join its tournaments.
Also, points awarded by all five judges are to be counted instead of just three judges, and both men and women’s bouts will feature three rounds of three minutes each with the rest time between each round being one minute.