Saken Polatov: “The goal of Uzbek boxing is to give out the maximum possible”

According to the results of the Asian Championship, which ended last week in Jordan, the boxers of Uzbekistan took a certain first place in the team event. Quite honestly, this did not become a sensation: even in the absence of Bakhodir Jalolov, the Uzbek athletes in Amman were among the favorites. However, this was not always the case.

After an unexpectedly faint performance at the Tokyo Olympics and a failure at the World Championships in Belgrade in 2021, the leadership of the Boxing Federation of Uzbekistan worked on the mistakes. Moreover, this did not become an analysis for the sake of analysis: a detailed debriefing was, following the results, put in clear formulations of tasks to reform the system of training boxers. In fact, a set of measures was developed, that describe the main directions, tasks and mechanisms for implementing the strategy for a radical change in the situation.

Last year, one of the world’s leading experts, co-founder of the famous Cuban boxing school, Carlos Villanueva, was invited to Uzbekistan. The task set before him was not trivial: to assess the state of boxing in the country from the junior level to the national team. The importance Mediaposts of this outside perspective cannot be overestimated: just as treatment begins with a diagnosis, reforms of any kind are best started with an independent assessment. Actually, it was precisely such an impartial approach that Villanueva demonstrated, having traveled all over the country, watched dozens of competitions and visited many training camps of athletes of different age categories. Afterwards, in fact, detailed reports and substantive recommendations were followed.

Well, the result is obvious. The main outcome of the CA-2022 can be considered not even the victory of Uzbekistan as such, but its credibility. Khasanboy Dusmatov (- 51 kg), Abdumalik Khalakov (-57 kg), Ruslan Abdullaev (- 63.5 kg), Saidjamshid Jafarov (- 75 kg) and Lazizbek Mullajonov (+92 kg) left no chance for the opponents. It makes no sense to explain the series of victories of Uzbeks in the last significant tournaments by any luck – there is a trend, the formula of which has yet to be revealed by those who are trying to push the strongest team at the top of the boxing Olympus.

Saken Polatov, First Deputy Chairman of the Boxing Federation of Uzbekistan, answered the questions of our publication on this matter.

– Saken Djetybayevich, the medal standings of the Asian Championship poses one main question for all countries of the continent: what is the secret of training the national team of Uzbekistan?

– Recently, we have radically changed the very approach to the training of champions. In fact, now we can talk not about preparing for tournaments of  eblogz various levels, but about striving for the future. The head of state set the sports functionaries the task of creating a comprehensive system of continuous search and selection of future leaders, and the best specialists and coaches have already been involved in its implementation. Therefore, the goal is not to win the Olympics, Worlds or European Championships, but to give the best possible – so that each athlete can reach his maximum potential. And the last fights in Amman proved that this principle works perfectly.

– What tasks were set for the updated coaching staff?

– Extremely specific: development of programs for the individualization of the training process, effective planning and optimal management of both the training process and the competitive activity of high-class boxers. In addition, of course, the training of athletes in accordance with modern scientific, technical, methodological and medical requirements.

– Medical?

– Well, of course. For example, despite the fact that sports doctors work in the federation on a permanent basis, in the course of communication with consultants, the need to attract a strong physiotherapist from abroad was revealed. In general, the pool of tasks facing our doctors has expanded significantly. I am not even talking about the correction of the functional states of boxers by means and methods developed based on the clinical medicine. With strict control and assessment of the adequacy of physical activity, everything is also clear, these are self-evident things. However, if we want to win stably and without serious risks, then we cannot do without individual training methods based on biomedical indicators and non-drug recovery methods. Doctors, along with coaches, should participate in the discussion of the training process and the timing of rehabilitation measures to prescribe reasonable pharmacological regimens.

– Surely, the reforms in Uzbek boxing are not limited to all this.

– As I said, we aim to create a sustainable system of many components: we can talk for a long time about reviewing work on psychological training, strengthening the judiciary and rotating heads of regional branches with the involvement of active and effective managers. Reforming an entire sport, especially such a significant one as boxing, is a living process that, ideally, should not end in principle. At least as long as it brings good results.

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