EYEAFRICA TV: Dakar, Senegal: The very first edition of the international tournament in Senegal got underway with fighters from France, Georgia, Russia, Portugal, Mali, Algeria, Italy and the host nation, Senegal, in attendance.
The event, organized by the Senegalese and Malian Savate Boxing Federations and supported by the International Savate Federation, was aimed at promoting the burgeoning sport across Africa.
At first, four successive fights from local amateur boys and girls in the 65 to 80 kilogram categories before professional fighters in the French World Boxing Championship went head-to-head in the under-75 and 80 kilogram categories with world title belts on the line.
“This win is a great pleasure. We did a great job and I’m proud to win a final for Mali and especially on the African continent; it was really necessary. And I hope that this victory will encourage and inspire other young Africans. I was a world champion and the next goal is to qualify for the next Olympic Games,” said Mohamed Diabi, the Under-75 kg Winner of Senegal Savate Boxing from Mali.
“I’m really happy. The fight didn’t go the way I wanted it to. But I was able to do what I used to do and I’m even happier than the first time. I am very happy about winning a belt for the first time in Africa,” said Brugiroux Christopher, the Under-80 kg Winner of Senegal Savate Boxing from France.
The evening’s action was broken down into two variations of the sport: French Savate Boxing, traditionally from France and Savate Pro, which has many similarities with Chinese kung-fu. Bouts see two fighters equipped with gloves, meet in the ring and engage in combat through punches and kicking techniques. Boxers have three or five rounds to win the match with points awarded for technique and effectiveness of blows.
Meanwhile, the international body of the sport gave its seal of approval of the event.
“Very good. I’m very impressed by the organization because it is the first time that we’ve been here. Everything has been properly organized. The ring is perfect, there is a good public and a lot of atmosphere. So, yes we are very happy for that,” said Julie Gabriel, the President of Savate Federation.
Many turned out to watch the event, especially Russian citizens living in Senegal, who were largely impressed by the level of fighting on display.
“All the fights were at a very high level. I really enjoyed them, especially the fighters from Russia, France, Mali and Senegal, who were at the very top. I congratulate all the fighters who put their hearts into it for the three and five rounds,” said Madioula Airara Diaby, Senegalese supporter.