Karaganda Boxing Center named after Serik Sapiyev
Serik Sapiyev. ©REUTERS/Murad Sezer
Karaganda Boxing Center has been named after Olympic champion Serik Sapiyev, Tengrinews.kz reports, citing Abelgazi Kussainov, Akim (Governor) of Karaganda oblast. “Taking into consideration the outstanding achievements of Serik Sapiyev we have named Karaganda Boxing center after him,” the governor of the region said at the honoring ceremony that was held at Shakhter Stadium in Karaganda on Saturday, August 18. Kussainov also said that it was the first time the oblast’s authorities conferred the title of the Honorary Citizen of Karaganda Oblast on someone. “Serik Sapiyev became the first holder of the title, and his coach Aleksandr Strelnikov became the second person who was awarded with the title,” Akim of the oblast said. The Akim presented the Olympic champion with keys from Toyota Land Cruiser 200. His personal coach Strelnikov was awarded with a 3 million tenge certificate ($20,270). Sapiyev was given a ride in a cabriolet followed by an escort of motorcycles led by famous biker Dmitry Petrukhin at Karaganda Stadium. Other 11 athletes, who participated in the London Olympics, were awarded with Honorary Diplomas of the Akim’s of Karaganda oblast. Besides, the athletes got gold watches with their names engraved on them. “I know that you went to the square (mass support gathering), that you cheered for me both at home and outside in the streets. It is very pleasant for me. I could always feel your support at the Olympics. My victory is the victory of the whole Kazakhstan. We have been working hard for 17 years along with my coach to achieve this result,” Serik Sapiyev said thanking his countrymen for their support. The winner addressed the athletes who weren’t so successful at this Olympics: “I had both victories and defeats. There are athletes at this stage who, unfortunately, haven’t won any medals. I’d like to support them and to wish future victories. Let them train and compete for the benefit of the country,” the Olympic champion said. "I am happy that my name will remain in the history of Karaganda oblast. Of course, I’d like to help all the beginning boxers,” Sapiyev gave his feedback on the Akim’s decision to name the Boxing Center after him. The athlete is going to decide on his further career plans after taking some rest. “I have signed a preliminary contract on transition to professional boxing. At present I am resting. I can’t tell you anything about my future plans now,” Sapiyev said. According to the champion, he is not star sick because of the fame and honor. “It is not difficult for me to cope with this fame and respect. I think that I remain the same person as I had been before. The only difference is that I have my pictures taken more often and people pay more attention to me,” Sapiyev said. The champion had no chance to see his family before the celebration. “The authorities are inviting me to other cities at present. I hope I will be able to get home in a week, when this rush cools down,” he added. Sapiyev’s wife is expecting the second child at present. “I don’t know the gender of our future child yet. This is a secret, anyway. But I am sure that Serik will name the child,” Serik’s wife Moldir said. Kazakhstan’s boxer Serik Sapiyev, Kazakhstan national team’s captain, was tagged the best boxer at the XXX London Olympic Games held on July 27-August 12. Besides the gold medal, he won the Val Barker Trophy as the Games' most outstanding and stylistic boxer. Kazakhstan was ranked 12th by medal count at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Kazakhstan athletes got 13 medals: 7 gold, 1 silver and 5 bronze medals.