Despite the difficulties boxing has gone through in recent years, the discipline has risen again to be present at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which will officially begin this weekend, and will have 13 bannermen among the delegations, four more than those who had that honor in Rio 2016.
The sport of fists will have 13 representatives bearing the flag of their delegations during the opening ceremony, an honor given to the most outstanding and significant athletes of each country.
Among the fighters who will have the privilege of leading their nations we have India’s historic fighter and London 2012 bronze medalist, Mary Kom, who remains a reference of world Olympism at 38 years old.
For Uzbekistan, Bobo Usmon will have the honor of carrying the flag. Kamshybek Kunkabayev, bronze medalist at the 2019 Yekaterinburg World Championships, will lead the Kazakhstan delegation, while Muhammed Flissi will do the same for the Algerian team.
Ireland will have a particular case as its two flag bearers will be boxers. Dublin native Kellie Harrington and Belfast native Brendan Irvine were selected by their Committee to carry in their hands the green, white and orange colors representing their country.
Eumir Marcial will be leading the Philippine delegation at the ceremony. The middleweight fighter and silver winner in the last world championships also made his professional boxing debut in December 2020.
Morocco also gave the honor of carrying the flag to welterweight fighter Oumaima Belahbib, while Richardo Colin will lead Mauritius island.
In the case of Latin America, the presence of boxers among the flag bearers also stands out. Rodrigo Marte was designated by the Dominican Republic; Future WBA Champions participant Atheyna Baylon for Panama; Julio Castillo from Ecuador; and Plata Dareel Valsain for Haiti.
The number of boxers carrying the flags of their countries increased considerably compared to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where there were 9. On that occasion, Teymur Mammadov (Azerbaijan), Dieudonne Wilfried Seyi Ntsengue (Cameroon), Jennifer Chieng (Federated States of Micronesia), Waheed Abdulridha (Iraq), Patrick Barnes (Ireland), Hussein Eshaish (Jordan), Erkin Adylbek Uulu (Kyrgyzstan), Jonas Junias (Namibia) and Bakhodir Jalolov (Uzbekistan) were flag bearers.
Boxing hopes to play another big role in the official beginning of a new era in which professionals can compete at the Olympic Games. The WBA will follow the events closely as it has done in recent years on the road to Tokyo.