AIBA NEWS: Interview with Daniyar Yeleussinov26 November 2013
Kazakhstan’s newly crowned AIBA World Champion Daniyar Yeleussinov has quickly become a hero for young athletes in our sport. By the time of the London 2012 Olympic Games he was already showing his potential, having made it to the quarterfinals of the Light Welterweight (64kg) category. Since then he has moved up to Welterweight (69kg) where in addition to winning the World Championships he has also won the not insignificant ASBC Asian Men’s Elite Championships in Amman, making him both Asian Continental and World Champion; all this by the age of just 23. No wonder he also came home from Almaty with the AIBA Best Elite Man Boxer of the Year (2013) award as well.
The Welterweight category has long been dominated by Kazakhstan’s boxers. In fact the last three Olympic Champions at that weight (Bakhtiyar Artayev, Bakhyt Sarsekbayev and Serik Sapiyev) all fight out of the Central Asian country and Yeleussinov is in a strong position to be able to continue this tradition at the Rio 2016 Olympics. We get to know him better in this interview:
When did you start boxing?
I started to train in boxing at the age of 10 in Astana and it was a family business for me.
You changed your weight Category after the London 2012 Olympics where you advanced to the final eight. Was this difficult?
I think I was able to adapt to the strength of the punches very quickly in this weight category. I won the Kazakh National Championships at Welterweight last November which was my debut in the category. To be honest I still haven’t faced some of the best boxers in this category, but I am ready to fight against anybody.
You had an unexpected loss to Lithuania’s Eimantas Stanionis in the Usti nad Labem Grand Prix in the Czech Republic. Did this give you extra motivation in later events?
At that time I was ill but I tried to fight in the Grand Prix anyway. That is why I lost to the Lithuanian fighter and in response to the second part of your question, no I am motivated enough to want to win all of my contests anyway.
Congratulations on your gold in the Asian Championships which was held in July. What was your opinion about the level of the ASBC Asian Boxing Championships in Amman?
Thank you very much. The Asian continent is a rapidly developing part of the world in boxing terms and it is getting harder and harder to win contests against the opponents there. I am happy now because I defeated Chinese, Jordanian and Indian boxers in Amman. Winning the best boxer trophy in the championships is an unexpected extra result for me.
Then of course we have to discuss the big one; your gold medal at the AIBA World Boxing Championships. How did you feel about the event in Almaty?
I live in Astana and I enjoyed the 2012 AIBA Asian Olympic Qualifiers in my hometown but the environment and global feel of the event in Almaty was amazing. At that level every boxer comes to the ring to win but of course only one fighter can go all the way, so I am more than happy that I was able to beat the world’s best in Almaty.
You were awarded the Best Elite Men’s Boxer of the Year for 2013. Did you expect that award in Janurary?
This was a huge bonus for me because I basically only focus on winning all of my bouts. So we celebrated both the gold medal and the award after the World Championships. Guests, media officials and friends all practically invaded our home in recent weeks but now things have calmed down and I have got a rest.
Are you planning to join to the World Series of Boxing (WSB) and AIBA Professional Boxing (APB) in the future?
If I am invited to join of course I will, why not? The WSB or APB could be new challenges for me but my first priority at the moment is to qualify to the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Do you have any hobbies outside boxing?
Yes, I like to play table tennis and other kind of sports as well.
What is your favourite food?
My favourite meal is plov. It is a meat and rice dish and it is very famous in Central Asia. You can add various meats and vegetables to the rice and I really love it!