Last year we reported that Kazakh amateur team captain Adilbek Niyazymbetov [Ниязымбетов Адильбек] was retiring from the sport. We now know that his replacement as the team captain has been decided, with Kamshybek Kunkabayev [Қамшыбек Қоңқабаев] taking his place as the figure head of the team.
A vote was taken at a recent training camp with Super Heavyweight fighter Kunkabayev getting the most votes. Following the vote he stated that it was "a huge responsibility" and that will "set an example for many boxers and athletes", before adding that as team they "will go forward together" (quotes are literal translations of comments made to the Kazakh press).
The training camp where this took place was the first under new coach Galymbek Kenzhebayev, who took charge in December.
For those unaware Kunkabayev is regarded as genuine standout amateur. He had a stellar 2017 when he won a silver medal at the World Amateur Championships and the Asian Championships and and is regarded very highly by those in Kazakhstan, who have also seen him participate in the World Series Boxing.
Earlier today the KFB (Kazakhstan Boxing Federation) announced that amateur standout Adilbek Niyazymbetov had retired from boxing.
The 29 year old was long regarded as one of the world's best Light Heavyweights, having won silver medals at the 2011 and 2013 World Amateur Championships as well as the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
The head coach of the Kazakh national team, Myrzagali Aitzhanov, stated that fans shouldn't feel offended by the retirement, but instead should should be grateful for what he had done for boxing in Kazakhstan.
At the moment it's unclear what Niyazymbetov will be doing in the future, but his retirement will be a huge loss to the Kazakh national team, as he was the captain and one of the central figures of the team, and he will be a hard man to replace.
(Image courtesy of kfb.kz)
W don't often report on amateur boxing but we need to admit that there was a huge story from Kazakhstan recently, regarding the 2017 Asian Championships in Tashkent. That story is that two of the top Kazakh stars will be absent from the competition as they have time away from the ring to rehab and recieve treatment.
The fighters in question are 2013 champion Zhanibek Alimkhanuly (1-0, 1 in the professional ranks), who also impressed at the 2016 Olympics, and 2-time medal winner Adilbek Niyazymbetov, who is best known as a 2-time Olympic silver medal winner. The two men compete at 75KG's and 81KG's respectively and are two of the real stars of the team with both men boasting strong pedigree and proven skills at this level.
Although the two men missing from the competition does weaken the Kazakh team the team coach Myrzagali Aitzhanov does seem confident that the team has two good replacements for the stars and that the team will still be a very strong one, potentially the strongest at the competition.
For those interested the competition begins on April 30th and ends on May 7th and is a qualifying event for the 2017 World Amateur Championships in Hamburg. In total 200 fighters from 29 countries will compete in Uzbekistan, among those are Olympic champions Hasanbay Dusmatov and Shahobiddin Zoirov, who are both going to be looking to replicate their success last year in front of a home crowd here.
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