World Boxing Tour / Interviews

Imane Khelif: I support the campaign of Roy Jones Jr, boxing should remain at Olympics 

October 11th, 2022 / World Boxing Tour, Interviews

It has been a successful year for Algerian 23-years-old Imane Khelif (63kg) when she won a silver medal at the 2022 IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul and triumphed with gold at AFBC African Championships in Mozambique.

‘Yes, it’s a truly special year for me. I am very happy with these titles, especially since it is the first medal at the IBA Women’s World Championships for my country, Algeria,’ she said.

Take into account that at both the 2018 and 2019 Women’s World Boxing Championships, she was eliminated in the first round. Impressive progress in such a short time was possible because of hard work and persistence. In fact, she started to go in for boxing in 2016, right after she first saw it on TV, and the path was full of obstacles.

‘I started boxing after the 2016 Rio Olympics, I was watching it on TV. I didn’t think that I would be able to practice it due to the difficult social conditions. I suffered because I could not save any money to move between the boxing hall and the house, which is located in a small village about 8 kilometers away. However, I decided to challenge my circumstances and continue training to achieve success. I loved boxing from the first day of training,’ Imane Khelif remembers.

Her next step is to compete at the first World Boxing Tour event, the Silver Belt series tournament in Maribor, Slovenia. It will be held on October 19-29.

‏’I expect it will be a real opportunity for men and women boxers to develop on the international stage, as well as to highlight the best of what our sport has.’

‏’My goal is clear, I want to perform at a high level and prove that boxing is a real art. I want to develop myself significantly. I would like to compete in the Diamond Belt Series at the end of the year!’ Khelif claimed.

Her inspiration is Muhammad Ali, and her coach Mohamed Al-Shawa gave her the best support on her way to the elite of boxing.

‘My coach supported me at all times, told me to show my strength and my skills,’ she added.

Except for the World Championships silver medal, she earned $50,000 USD prize money from IBA.

‘I will buy a house near the boxing gym, spend some money on my training, provide some sports and training equipment, and donate it to some people in need,’ Imane shared her plans.

‘Prize money is a very good idea. We are very pleased with this kind gesture. It motivated us to work more and develop ourselves. On this occasion, I would like to thank Mr. Umar Kremlev, President of the International Boxing Association, and everyone who contributed to this initiative,’ Khelif stressed.

Now she aims to achieve the best results and earn IBA and Olympic titles.

‘I believe boxing should remain at the Olympics. Boxing is an ancient sport, it’s a sports art. Boxing is very popular worldwide. I hope they will take that into account for the decision that it must serve the sport of boxing and us, boxers. I support the initiative of Roy Jones Jr #STANDFORBOXING and I love this campaign so that boxing will be in the Los Angeles Olympics 2028,’ Imane Khelif claimed.