Under the auspices of the Kingdom’s SEA games organising committee (CAMSOC), the Cambodia Boxing Federation (CBF) has hired experienced Kazakh coach Kassymkhanov Berikbol Amantayevich to train the national team in preparation for the biennial multi-sport event in Phnom Penh next year.
With the presence of the new coach, the federation has declared its intention to earn at least two gold medals at the games.
“CAMSOC set the federation the goal of one gold medal, but thanks to the addition of our new coach, we have decided that two are within our capabilities,” said CBF secretary-general Buy Sophoan on July 28.
“Our hopes are high, as the new coach has a lot of experience in training boxers to international standards. We also have many overseas competitions and training camps planned before the games, so we think our team will be extremely well prepared,” he added.
Sophoan introduced the team to the new coach on July 25 and he has been training with them at the Olympic Stadium.
Amantayevich has a wealth of experience coaching on the world stage. In ASEAN, he trained the national teams of Vietnam and Myanmar, helping the latter to clinch two gold, two silver and two bronze at the 2013 SEA Games. He also trained Vietnamese boxer Nguyen Van Duong, who qualified for the Olympic Games.
Amantayevich requested that the CBF send the Cambodian national team to his home country or neighbouring Uzbekistan as part of their training schedule ahead of the games.
“We are discussing the team’s training calendar in detail, as we plan to send our athletes to train in Europe. Once the plans are finalised, we will ask CAMSOC to approve them,” said Sophoan.
“Going to train there is one of the main plans we have to implement. We will send them two or three times before the games arrive. The first trip is expected to last for between three to six weeks. They will learn new techniques and spar with boxers from Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan,” Amantayevich said.
“When I trained the teams of Myanmar and Vietnam, I sent them to training camps in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. I achieved great success with those teams, so I will employ the same method to improve the quality of the Cambodian fighters,” he added.
The federation is also looking for boxers of Cambodian descent who could represent the Kingdom at the 32nd SEA Games next year.
Cambodian champion boxer Eric Pen Phearun is on the shortlist to be chosen for the event, despite missing out at last year’s 31st SEA Games in Vietnam because he failed to make weight.
“As part of the CBF plan, we are looking for Cambodian fighters living abroad who could step up. Eric is certainly a candidate for the 92kg class,” Sopoan added.
He said the federation would not take overseas based fighters who fought it the same weight classes as boxers from home. The CBF would largely be looking for heavyweights, as the ASEAN nations produce so few of them. Their strategy was based on the idea that their medal tally would almost certainly increase if they could take more heavyweights along.