Portrait of the German World Championship Team: Abbas Baraou

He is regarded as a “great hope for the home World Championships”, according to the specialist magazine BoxSport in its current issue. We are talking about Abbas Baraou (here on the right in red). The 22-year-old man from Oberhausen is preparing in Berlin with his coach, Ralf Dickert, for the championship bouts from 25 August to 2 September in Hamburg. He is the German number one in welterweight (up to 69 kilogrammes). The boxer, who was born in Aalen but has Togolese roots, recently proved this impressively once again at the internationally renowned Chemiepokal Tournament (CPT) in Halle in mid-March. In the 44th staging of the tournament, Baraou followed up his silver medal in 2015 this time with gold.

The very likeable boxer has already managed to lift the title of Chemiepokal champion twice. At that time, he made his breakthrough into the elite class of men’s boxing at the age of only 19 years. Before that, the up-and-coming talent had really only been noticed, at best, by insiders and boxing fans from his home state association in Northrhine-Westphalia. However, the thrilling semi-final victory of the youngster over the much more experienced reigning Irish champion, Stephen Donnelly, at that CPT ensured an audible murmur in professional circles. And after winning the final against the Chinese Liu, Baraou was properly celebrated by the audience. Hand-clapping and “Abass!” calls could be heard even during the bout and, in the end, Baraou was declared “best fighter” of the tournament. And he’s been firmly established since that day.

Abbas Baraou learned the ABC of boxing at ‘Ring Frei Oberhausen’. Mohammed Guettari, who himself used to be a successful boxer and is now a coach, recognised the potential of the young man a long time ago and has also shaped the character of the former juvenile delinquent. For example, his protégé also managed to pass an intermediate school-leaving certificate. Sporting successes were not far behind: the natural talent became Northrhine-Westphalia champion on several occasions and national junior champion. His fifth position at the Youth World Championships in 2012 indicated his broad international potential. On a national level, he is at the top of the pile in any case: in the meantime, Baraou has already bagged three German championship titles in the elite class.

“My mother used to be dead against my boxing,” Baraou likes to say. But when his mother once watched him training, she fortunately recognised how much her boy enjoyed boxing. In the year 2014, he switched from the sports boarding school in Münster to the sports boarding school in Berlin. At the 1st European Games in 2015, Baraou achieved a remarkable fifth place. Unfortunately, he was defeated in the quarter finals at the Olympic qualifications in Azerbaijan by the experienced Hungarian Imre Balazs Bacskaj. But Baraou came to terms with that long ago – and the World Championships in Hamburg are the next goal in his sights. What did coach Trainer Dickert say shortly after taking Baraou under his wing? “Fighting is his strength.”

The World Championships titles in Olympic boxing are awarded in the following ten weight classes: Light Flyweight (up to 49 kilogrammes body weight), Flyweight (up to 52 kilogrammes), Bantamweight (56), Light (60), Light Welterweight (64), Welterweight (69), Middleweight (75), Light Heavyweight (81), Heavyweight (91) and Super Heavyweight (over 91 kilogrammes). As the World Championships host, Germany is entering a complete team, i.e. ten starters who do not need to qualify internationally. In a random sequence, we will present each number one with the German eagle symbol on their chest, as nominated by the German Boxing Association following the 2017 International Chemiepokal Tournament (CPT) in Halle.

© Peter Jaschke

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