Portrait of the German World Championship Team: Hamza Touba
For one of the ten German boxers with the German eagle symbol on their chest, the World Championships from 25 August to 2 September in Hamburg are under a particularly ‘lucky star’: Hamza Touba (25) works at the Mercedes-Benz dealership in Heidelberg-Mannheim. Originally from Neuss, Touba has lived in this region between the Rhine and the Neckar for ten years. This, more precisely Heidelberg, is the location of the Olympic Training Centre with a boarding home for boxers, where today’s German number one flyweight up to 52 kilogrammes moved in at the age of 15.
Today, Touba, an early school leaver, has acquired educational qualifications and completed a full commercial apprenticeship. His employer, Mercedes-Benz, has freed him from full-time work so that he can participate in events, training camps and competitive sport. In 2015, he won bronze at the first European Games and took part in the Olympic Games in Rio last summer. He is now also representing Germany at the first home World Championships for 22 years.
Curiously, he almost became a wrestler like his sibling, Mimoun, who wrestled for his home town of Neuss in the Bundesliga for a long period and was German champion. Hamza himself was even West German champion in this discipline before he submitted to the fascination of boxing. A lucky move: since 2010, he has won many German championships, five times in the elite class alone. As a youngster, he reached the final of the EU Cadet Championships and won silver in 2007. Five years ago, he brought home bronze from the under-22 European Championships in Russia.
This record and victories at tournaments as well as in the semi-professional World Series of Boxing of the world association AIBA prove that top technician Touba has long been among the top international boxers of his weight class. By the way, he shares his love for archetypal Olympic wrestling and fist-fighting with his wife, Pinar Touba, née Yilmaz, who is firmly established in the women’s flyweight class and only just missed getting a ticket for a flight to Rio in 2016.
The fact that he was eliminated at an early stage in Rio is something Touba shrugged off long ago. His role model is and remains Zoltan Lunka, one of his coaches at the German Boxing Association: the Olympic bronze medallist from 1996 was namely part of the legendary German host squad at the World Championships in Berlin and was crowned world champion in flyweight there 22 years ago. Now if that’s not another lucky (guiding) star…
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 are automatically qualified. 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. There, Germany won three gold medals and took second place behind the boxing nation of Kazakhstan. The CPT is recognised by the AIBA world association and traditionally has the character of “mini world championships”.