The first professional boxing competition in Gagauzia
When the spectators enter the stadium, even without the boxers the ring is the first thing that they notice: far above the seats on the floor, with plenty of headlights above, it contains about six square meters. Apart from the chairs around it, fans can also take a seat on the stand right in front of it. A mysterious atmosphere is created by the blue light all over the room. The excitement of the audience waiting for the fights to begin is palpable.
It is the first time that the inhabitants of Gagauzia get the possibility of watching a boxing competition in their region, more specifically in Comrat, its capital. According to the mayor of the city, Sergey Anastasov, the event fits the mentality of its citizens perfectly. „Sports, for us, is our life in here. A lot of Gagauzian people like sports“, he says. Therefore, after repairing the roof of the current location, which rather resembles a factory hall from the outside, the city is planning to build a whole new place for future competitions and training of martial arts, which are the leading kind of sport in Gagauzia. But of course, above all, it is a big day for the participants. When it is Ivan Petrov‘s turn, for example, everyone can see that he is fighting not only with a lot of skill, but also with a lot of passion. When he gets into action, nearly the whole audience is behind him, cheering and screaming his name. Himself, he describes boxing as being „all about nobility, courage and honor“. Marius Kol has a similar experience. „I felt the support from the country [Gagauzia]“, he says after the fight, confirming that for the competition taking place in the place where he is studying and training, compared to other competitions, more of his friends had the possibility of watching his match. „It was really important to win for me today“, he admits. Both of them have worked hard for those excellent results. After years of training, they started their preparations specifically for this day which included physical endurance practice, tactics and technique three months ago. According to local boxing coach Marat Turgunov, especially for his students that have already passed the age of eighteen, the match is a great opportunity to participate in a competition, because they cannot take part in amateur championships anymore. Also, they „don’t have enough sponsorship [. . .] to go and participate and practice boxing because they are already graduating from boarding school and our sports school. So [it is] a good opportunity to participate in professional boxing. For his fight, the boxer gets money. In amateur boxing, that doesn’t exist.“ Having taken part in the competition in Comrat, the young men have joined the rating of the WBC (World Boxing Council), which bestows a number of titles every year.
So why have there not been professional boxing competitions in Comrat before? Viktor Ialimov, who is part of „B&B promotions“, the company that organized the event, states that the problem is that there are severe problems between the amateur and the professional boxing federation of Moldova. This is also the reason why the struggle does not only exist in Gagauzia, but in the whole country, and overcoming it also means that there will soon be similar events in other places. „We were planning to do a show in every big city of our country“, says the athletic man, who is a professional boxer himself. Finally, preparations could start one year ago. Before the one in Comrat, there was already a professional boxing match in Chișinău, the capital of Moldova. Although he is currently living in Russia, the last match of the day is faught by a native Gagauzian, Vladimir Celes, as well. Viktor Ialimov, who also calls him his friend, tells us that they trained the Moldovan national team together 7 years ago. But he is not the only one who made the long way to Gagauzia especially for the competition. His opponent, for example, is a Georgian boxer. „The figthers are very friendly and were answering very fast. We did not have problems [to convince them to come]“, the organizor says, adding that they asked the foreign professionals to participate only a month before, while the local participants had already been selected right after the decision to hold the competition in Comrat.