‘HIS DESTINY IS IN HIS HANDS’
Aug 10, 2016
Boxer Obada Al Kesbeh makes his Olympic debut on Thursday knowing he has the ability to make his mark as one of his weight's top fighters.
The 22-year-old faces Canada's Arthur Biyarslanov in his opening bout in the 64kg light welterweight category following a gruelling build up that has put him in the best shape possible.
His opponent is only 21 and emigrated to Canada from Azerbaijan at the age of 10. He is the current Pan American Games champion.
But Al Kesbeh’s coach believes that if he enters the ring in the right frame of mind he can progress.
“Obada is a very hungry fighter and can adapt his style against any opponent,” said his Algerian head coach Azeddine Aggoune.
“He is a boxer with great ability but we have been working hard on his mental focus as well over the last few days to ensure he is ready.”
The young fighter finished fifth in the tough World Qualifying event in June where he came through bouts against boxers from across the globe.
Prior to arriving in Rio de Janeiro, he joined team mate Hussein Ishaiash, who fights on Saturday, for intensive training in Cuba.
"Cuba is well established as one of the best places for amateur boxing and the boys gained valuable sparring time with boxers of different styles from different parts of the world," the coach added.
As for the boxer himself? Al Kesbeh is considered the live wire in the Jordan delegation. Always laughing and joking and rarely without a smile on his face. That will all change Thursday though when he steps in the ring.
"I have come here to win and God willing I will make Jordan proud of me," he said. "I will do my best and throw everything into my first fight to try and get through for my country."
Al Kesbeh fights in the morning session, and should be entering the ring around 5.45pm Jordan time.
What do we know about Al Kesbeh’s opponent?
Arthur Biyarslanov was born in 1995 and is an amateur boxer from Canada also known as the Chechen Wolf. Biyarslanov’s family left Chechnya when he was four years old due to ongoing violence. He migrated to Toronto from Azerbaijan at age 10 and started boxing in 2007 after his brother recommended the sport for self-defense.
He won a gold medal in the men's light welterweight category at the 2015 Pan Arab American Games.
Previously he has represented Canada at the 2012 Brandenburg International Tournament (bronze), 2012 Youth World Championships (Top 10) and 2013 Odessa, Ukraine, International Tournament (gold).