The Algeria Desert Hawks’ debut as the first African team in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) last year was a significant event for the whole of the Maghreb, where Algeria has long been known as the dominant regional boxing force. But how will they fare this year?
The Algerian franchise has huge support on home soil but had a tough first season in the WSB. Nonetheless the team gained the respect of their countrymen, becoming a source of national sporting pride which was only emphatically confirmed by the TV audience figures of “Algeria Desert Hawks” matches.
The Background Led by AIBA Vice President and African Boxing Confederation President Dr. Abdellah Bessalem in collaboration with the Algerian Boxing Federation (FAB) and represented by some of the country’s top talent, the Algeria Desert Hawks were another exciting new addition to the WSB ranks last season. This time round with new Head Coachr Azzedine Aggoune on board, the Algerian boxers now have experience and tactical knowhow on their side. As a former boxer himself, Azzedine Aggoune prepared the Algerian National Team for the Olympic Games in London.
Star boxer Mohamed Flissi took a silver medal at this year’s AIBA World Championships in Almaty Kazakhstan, where he distinguished himself as a brilliant boxer, having the unusual dual quality of being both evasive and scrappy in the ring. This will make him stylistically hard to defeat this year and will surely help the Desert Hawks’ campaign.
The Venue The now well-knowns Salle Hocine-Chaalane in Blida and the Salle Harcha in Algiers will host Algeria’s matches during the upcoming Season. There is no doubt that both venues will be filled to capacity with their usual amazing atmosphere that comes from the pride and passion Algerian fans have for their WSB team.
The Interview The aforementioned, star boxer Mohamed Flissi, was good enough to lift the lid on the Desert Hawks’ build up to the new season.
What is the situation with your team? Are there any changes to the squad? Our team will look pretty much the same as it was last season. We already lined-up the top boxers of the National team last season, so it is a strong side. For me personally it is a big pleasure to be invited to join the Algeria Desert Hawks again this season.
And what is the atmosphere in the team just days away from the Season’s Launch? The guys are getting ready for the first away match with Germany. Unfortunately I cannot join them at this stage as I have an injury. However I am looking forward to joining the squad for the following matches.
What do you think about the change from five weight categories to ten this year? It was definitely a very good initiative. I am sure that with more boxers competing in the WSB, the ambience will be even more exciting.
What are the lessons that your team learned in Season III? I believe that the most important lesson we learned during the last season was that you should always give your best.
What are your team’s objectives this year? Obviously, we dream about winning the season and to keep going strong in following seasons in order to be able to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in 2015 through the WSB.