One week before the global presentation of the franchise of Venezuela, we spoke with the President of the Venezuelan Boxing Federation Mr. Frank López, on his first impressions about his rivals in the WSB group phase, as well as about his expectations for the Venezuelan team which will participate in the World Series of Boxing for the first time.
Welcome to the World Series of Boxing, Mr. Lopez! What would you say about your group?
First of all, I would like to thank AIBA, its President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, and the CEO of WSB Mr Karim Bouzidi, for giving us the opportunity to enter such a prestigious competition. Venezuela is very pleased; it is an honor for us to enter in the World Series of the sport which has brought so much satisfaction to our country. With regards to the group, I can say that it will be difficult. We will face very powerful teams, like Azerbaijan the vice-champions of Season IV, and Kazakhstan, and all teams will be difficult, be it in Group A or B. But the team will prepare itself to meet the challenge and we will do so with a lot of responsibility, ethics, efforts, and heart so that Venezuela features well in the fifth WSB.
You will be facing historical teams of the competition, like Italia Thunders, Azerbaijan Baku Fires and Astana Arlans Kazakhstan, do you think you stand a chance to qualify?
We know that it will not be easy to qualify but we will not leave an easy life to our opponents, and we will prepare ourselves to be ready. We will have the best preparation to go with our best athletes and we will prepare a powerful team that will compete with dignity. We are sure that we will have some triumphs and, hopefully, make it to the playoffs, something which would be a historical achievement for our first year in the competition.
The draw has kept you aside of the current champions Cuba Domadores, is this something positive or would you have wanted to test your strength against them?
We knew that any group would be difficult. If there had been Cuba, it would have been very easy to organize logistically. We are neighboring countries and we compete against each other frequently. But Cuba is the reigning champion of WSB, and the team to beat. They have the best boxers and not having to face them in the early phase of the competition is something good for us. This way, we will face the best European teams and in the second round, if we are lucky and make it through, we will then face Cuba and any other team.
What can followers of WSB expect from the Venezuelan team?
We will unveil the whole project to the Venezuelan population next week, on the occasion of the visit of the WSB CEO Mr Karim Bouzidi. We will have a press conference with the Ministry for Sport and with the Venezuelan Government, which we thank for the support they have provided to make this project come true, together with the whole working team of the franchise. Our country has many boxing aficionados and I am sure they will give the team strength when we fight at home and this will enable us to clinch the victory. Boxing followers always expect the best from Venezuelan boxing and we will succeed in delivering this.
In a qualifying year for Rio 2016, what do you expect from your boxers?
There are few places and many contenders, but we hope to find our space in this undertaking. It is one of our objectives. We know it will be difficult but we think that we can achieve some positive results. I think that Olympic qualification gives a special emotion, bigger expectations and, above all, more responsibilities to the franchises to compete with much more enthusiasm.
Will you risk a prediction for Venezuela?
We hope to make it to the second round, and then anything can happen. But I can assure you that Venezuela will be part of the battle. It will be tough but not impossible.