Saint Lucian professional boxer, Ryan Charles, will compete in the AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, which runs from October 24 to November 6, 2021. He drew a bye to the second round of the super heavyweight (91 kg.) category which has over 30 boxers.
The International Boxing Association, or AIBA, originally the Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur, is an independent sport organization that sanctions amateur boxing matches and awards world and subordinate championships.
Charles, who is based in England, is now gearing up for his first fight of the tournament slated for this Thursday (October 28) against a German opponent.
“I’m really looking forward to it because this is a big opportunity and there are so many countries represented here,” Charles said in an interview with the St. Lucia Boxing Association’s Public Relations Officer, Stan Bishop, on Monday. “It’s one of the biggest stages in boxing, really, almost like the Olympics. My aim is to just go ahead and do the best I can and get a medal.”
More than 500 athletes from over 88 countries will compete in 13 weight categories – the most in the event’s history. Fights are carried live daily on Flow Sports (Channel 290).
The Opening Ceremony, which was held over the weekend, set the stage for a memorable two weeks of action which will feature some athletes as part of a Fair Chance Team, created for athletes who have felt forced to leave their countries, often because of conflict. For the first time in an AIBA competition, the team walked alongside the competing countries as part of the athletes’ parade.
Charles, 34, who has the nickname “Run Em Over”, and was introduced to boxing at age eight, has won gold medals at the OECS Boxing Championship and Saint Lucia’s Creole Boxing Championship level. He turned pro in 2018 and his record includes 7 wins (2 via KOs) and 1 loss.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic causing him to miss a major tournament held in Turkey earlier this year, Charles said he has remained in training in preparation for upcoming bouts.
“For the last year or so, I’ve been in the gym doing loads and loads of sparring,” the boxer said. “I’m based in England and we have so many good boxers there. So I’ve been sparring with some of them, including top-rated ones. I’ve also been doing lots of strength and conditioning work with my strength coach, Ben Lewis. I’ve also been doing some great work with my boxing coach, Sabatino Leo.”
Charles said Saint Lucians can expect something different from him this time around as he steps into the biggest tournament of his career thus far.
“They will see the best version of me, just seeing me go out there and fight with pride and give everything,” Charles said. “If they can recall, I’m a good puncher, even as far back as my participation in the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Since then, however, my technique has improved a lot, so they will see the true ‘Run ‘Em Over’ power.”
Meanwhile, President of the St. Lucia Boxing Association (SLBA), David “Shakes” Christopher, said Charles, who arrived in Serbia last Friday, will be handled by Terrence Poole, AIBA three-star coach and technical director of the Guyana Boxing Association (GBA). He added that Charles has since been accredited and participated in the march-past held ahead of the tournament. Expectations and hope are both riding high on the fighter’s quest for glory, the SLBA prez indicated.
“We’re all hoping that he can advance to the medal round,” Christopher said. “The tournament pays out US$100,000 for a gold medal, US$50,000 for silver, and US$25,000 for bronze. He’s in very good spirits, but, most of all, we’re very happy to know that Saint Lucia can send a boxer to one of the biggest tournaments on AIBA’s calendar.”
Charles has received financial support from the St. Lucia Boxing Association (SLBA) and Saint Lucia Olympic Committee (SLOC) Inc. towards his participation in the tournament. Christopher thanked the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee for its support, adding that additional support from the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports towards Charles’ participation in this tournament is expected shortly.
The St. Lucia Boxing Association wishes Charles every success at the AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships.