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August 26, 2009

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Home » Sports » Boxing

China eyes amateur league for next year

CHINA is hoping to build on its success in the ring at last year's Beijing Olympics by launching the country's first national amateur league next year, the Chinese Boxing Federation has announced.

Boxing does not have a very long history in the world's most populous country, where home-grown martial arts are far more popular, but received a boost when the host nation won two golds, one silver and a bronze medal at last year's Summer Games.

The league, to be launched next April, will feature eight clubs with at least 10 boxers each competing at five weights for individual and team titles in weekly tournaments, the CBF said on its Website.

"I hope the league will push forward the professionalization of Chinese sports to build a strong sporting nation," said CBF head Chang Jianping.

In the wake of last year's hugely successful Olympics, the Chinese government has targeted the domestic sports market as an area of potential future economic growth.

The new boxing league, which was given the go-ahead by the Sports Ministry last week, will be trialled for a year.

The recent decision to admit women's boxing at the 2012 London Olympics could also be a boost to the sport in China, whose only professional world champion is former WBA women's superflyweight title holder Zhang Xiyan.

Last week, men's Olympic superheavyweight silver medalist Zhang Zhilei announced that he would be working with US Hall of Fame trainer Lou Duva as he prepares for the London Olympics.

A CBF official said yesterday that no foreign promoters or fighters were involved in the new Chinese league.


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