Interview with Mr. Henrik Tavio – We will come back stronger in 202109 December 2020
Mr. Henrik Tavio is not only the President of the Finnish Boxing Association but he worked as Technical Delegate and ITO in many international events including AIBA and EUBC Championships. Mr. Henrik Tavio replied the questions of the European Boxing Confederation regarding Finland’s boxing plans and the National Boxing Championships.
The 97th Finnish National Boxing Championships was held in the city of the Rovaniemi which is the capital of Lapland and known about the home town of Santa Claus and for viewing the Northern Lights. The national event delivered excellent battles in both of the female and male sides and their No.1 Rio 2016 Olympic Games bronze medallist, European Games winner and EUBC European Women’s Champion Mira Potkonen won her final at the lightweight (60kg) which was her comeback to the competitions.
What is your opinion about the developments of the Finnish boxers since you are the President of the National Federation?
I have been elected as a National Federation President for three-years term 2019-2021. As 2019 we were coming to end of this Olympic cycle, we wanted to provide all the necessary support needed for our elite boxers targeting for Tokyo 2020 and still strengthen the grassroots level in order to support clubs, boxers and coaches work for future talents
How did you see the level of the contests in the 97th Finnish National Championships which was held in Rovaniemi in the recent days?
I was quite satisfied for the level of contests as I was worried what kind of an impact it was for the boxers when all the competitions were cancelled since March 2020 until early autumn because of the Covid-19 pandemic. But we found out that the work which was made in clubs by boxers and coaches paid off and the level of performance proved to be strong and solid.
Did you see any new talents, strong process from any boxers?
I was satisfied to see that our future prospects, who turned from youth to elite level led by Vilma Viitanen have succeeded in taking this step which as we all know is demanding. I was especially impressed by Eveliina Taimi, Lassi Rissanen and Anton Embulaev just to mention few of them.
What are the main challenges before and during the National Boxing Championships?
Naturally because of the developing Covid-19 situation we were worried until the very last moment if we can go on with the competition. It required an enormous effort from the organizing clubs to fulfil all the requirements by national sanitary authorities but it all ended well. We were deeply worried that this year would become the first year since the war when we cannot arrange the championships.
Could you please summarize your activities in 2020?
I guess even though this has been a depressing year there will be a moment when we can look back and try to find out what we have learned from all of this. And finally we will come back stronger in 2021.
What do you expect in 2021?
We are still missing our boxers to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics so therefore we have high hopes for European and World Olympic Boxing Qualifiers. On grassroots level, we want to support and strengthen the work of boxing clubs. This is all described in Federation strategy plan for 2020-2024.
Which international events are you planning to host in 2021?
We are closely monitoring the situation with Covid-19 pandemic as today all the gyms in Finland are closed by Health Authorities and training outdoors in wintertime in Finland is sometimes challenging as you can imagine. Anyway we have started preparations in order to arrange 40th International GeeBee Tournament in April and also the traditional Tammer Tournament in Tampere is scheduled for next autumn.
What are the main strategic programs of Finland’s boxing? Do you have long term campaigns, projects?
We have updated our NF strategy for 2020-2024. Our mission is described in a sentence “We are for the Boxers”. I understand that this may first sound as a cliché but it is our task to make this a true centrepiece of our work. The future of Boxing is there but it does not come for us for free.