Afghan boxer wins 1st pro fight in war-torn nation
Afghan boxer Hamid Rahimi won the first professional bout in his
war-torn country Tuesday by stopping Said Mbelwa of Tanzania in the
Rahimi, who is based in Germany, said his aim in organizing
”Afghanistan Fight 4 Peace” was to bring the people of his
country together after decades of warfare.
Several hundred spectators watched the bout live in a large hall
in the capital, cheering wildly when Rahimi won the vacant WBO
intercontinental middleweight title. Mbelwa was unable to continue
because of a shoulder injury.
Mbelwa showboated in the early rounds, but retreated to his
corner holding his shoulder in the seventh after Rahimi delivered
four fierce rights in quick succession.
Rahimi’s supporters carried a banner reading ”We Want Peace”
during the match. Spectators crowded into the ring after the match
to congratulate both fighters.
”I am very happy because this victory belongs to all Afghans,”
The boxer has lived in Germany since childhood when his parents
moved there in 1992. He has won 22 of his 23 pro fights.
Organizers said the two men made history by staging the first
professional match in Afghanistan. But amateur boxing is popular in
Afghanistan and the nation’s first Olympic boxer, flyweight Ajmal
Faisal, took part in the London Games this year.
The fight was the latest of several sporting events which
authorities hope will help unite the nation.
Earlier this month, Afghanistan’s new soccer league held its
first national championship at Kabul’s renovated Ghazi stadium.
In September, the country’s cricket team participated in the
World Twenty20 tournament in Sri Lanka, where they were eliminated
after losing to India and England.