Vladimir Putin has said he expects the online celebrations for International Boxing Day to keep promoting the sport ©Getty Images

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has led celebrations of International Boxing Day in a letter asking the sport's community to continue to use the day to attract people to boxing.

In a letter from the Kremlin in Moscow, Putin spoke about the popularity of the sport in Russia, with it being one of the nation's most successful in recent Olympic Games.

Putin wrote: "Its [boxing's] popularity is vivid evidence that a mass sport in our country is on the rise and every year gains more and more supporters.

"It is very important that, thanks to the initiative and creative approach of the organisers, the support of the media and internet platforms, a good transition to celebrate the International Boxing Day, despite the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I am sure that the current modern online format will allow you to fully realise the educational objective of the festival.

"It means that it will attract the general public interest to boxing, its history and modern development."

Since 2017, International Boxing Day has been significant in Russia, with the nation aiming to improve participation through interactive programmes led by some of the country's best boxers.

Last year, a large celebration was held in Moscow's Red Square, with boxing taking place before a backdrop of St Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin.

Russia and Germany also put on a boxing show for the 2018 celebrations, to show the competitiveness of the sport at the highest level.

Meanwhile, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has launched a flash mob as part of International Boxing Day today, with athletes from more than 35 nations represented in the online initiative.

Under the motto "Boxing is everywhere", AIBA has received videos from participants around the world, who have displayed their shadowboxing skills.

Fans are encouraged to take part too by posting their short videos on Instagram with the hashtag "#BOXINGEVERYWHERE" and tagging @aiba_official.

As part of the celebrations for International Boxing Day, which is marked every year on July 22, a summary video will feature the best fan videos in a compilation.

Nations that have taken part so far include Iran, Turkey, Australia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, France, Russia, Ireland, Colombia, Belarus, India, Poland, Monaco, Montenegro, the United Arab Emirates, Sweden and Britain.

AIBA has also asked participants to remain cautious of COVID-19 rules in their respective countries to ensure safety is maintained.