Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley

Barbados is "ready to rumble" as the island gears up to host the 6th International Boxing Association (AIBA) Women’s World Boxing Championships from September 6 to 19.??

The championships were officially launched yesterday evening at the Wildey Gymnasium, by Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, who judged the event as a "significant milestone" for the island.??

He stated: "This championship provides the opportunity for the resurgence of the sport of boxing in general and the upsurge of women’s boxing in particular – goals that are consistent with the vision and mission of the Ministry of Youth, Family and Sports… The hosting of this international championship is yet another milestone in the strategy of my ministry to reposition sports as an economic engine in the development of Barbados.?? In recent years, Barbados has hosted world-class sports events in polo, sailing, and windsurfing; and with global brands such as PGA golf and ICC cricket.?? We are happy to add to our repertoire the AIBA Women’s Boxing Championships."

While outlining that Government had invested $2.5 million to host the competition, Minister Lashley took the opportunity to invite local, regional and corporate entities, to capitalise on the opportunity to support the international event in the form of sponsorships, advertising,the promotion and broadcasting of the bouts across the region.

Over the next eight weeks, Barbadians will be invited to come out and support their six member "Team Barbados," lead by coach, Gary Bowen.?? According to Joyce Bowen, Executive Committee Member of AIBA and Chairperson of the Local Organising Committee, over 600 athletes and officials will descend upon Barbados from August 16 through to September 19.

"This presents our country with an excellent opportunity to show its world-renowned hospitality…?? It is very likely that Barbados could be host to the largest?? women’s boxing championship in the history of the event," she outlined.

??Bouts will begin on September 9 and the finals will be held on September 18 at the Wildey Gymnasium. Fights will consist of four rounds of two minutes each, with one minute of rest between bouts.?? The Championships will be held in 10 weight categories ranging from 45-81 kilograms.?? ????

The first AIBA championships were held in Scranton, USA, in 2001, and since then five championships have been held. ??Among the boxers anticipated to attend the AIBA Women’s World Championships, Barbados, 2010 are two-time world champion and 2008 AIBA Women’s Boxer of the Year, Katie Taylor of Ireland; along with four-time world champion, Mary Kom of India; and Canada’s two time Canadian world champions Mary Spencer and Arianne Fortin. both two-time world champions.?? AIBA Women’s Boxing Ambassador, two-time world champion and runner-up in 2008, Anna Laurell of Sweden, is also predicted to take part.

The official mascot, Krisa, the boxing flying fish, was also unveiled at the event and plans are to promote the championships heavily during the Crop Over Festival and the summer camp programmes.?? Celebrity bouts will also be organised.

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