A celebration event was held in Kinshasa to mark International Boxing Day ©IBA

International Boxing Association (IBA) President Umar Kremlev has claimed that the International Boxing Day (IBD) celebration in the Democratic Republic of Congo is set to benefit the development of the sport in the African nation.

A celebration event in Kinshasa to mark IBD was attended by African Boxing Confederation (AFBC) President Bertrand Mendouga and his DR Congo Boxing Federation counterpart Général Ilunga Luyoyo Ferdinand.

"I am happy to celebrate International Boxing Day with the African continent and send a good message to the world," Kremlev said.

 "We are a strong and united boxing family, we are helping our National Federations to develop the sport in every single country.

"Boxing is a diverse sport, and we are committed to making it available for everyone."

Ferdinand claimed that Kinshasa has always been a "a city of boxing" and pointed out that "The Rumble in the Jungle" between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman took place in Congo’s capital.  

"We have always been loving boxing here," Ferdinand said.

"We are grateful that IBA chose us as a host country for International Boxing Day.

"This is the start of a new era of boxing in DR Congo."

IBA Board of Directors Pearl Dlamini, Yusuf Al Kazim and Dian Gomes, who were also present at the event, conveyed their best for the boxing fraternity and expressed support for the Year of Africa initiative, aimed at staging more events and development programmes in the continent.

Olympic champion Estelle Mossely and World Boxing Council cruiserweight champion Junior Ilunga Makabu were special guests for the celebration.

Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallist Mossely, who has Congolese roots, was back in the city after three years to celebrate IBD.

"Three years ago I came to Kinshasa for the first time to train with children and inspire them, and now I am also back to the roots to celebrate International Boxing Day here," Mossely said

"I earned my titles when I was 24, I have two kids, and I still continue to perform and win titles.

"I have my goals and I’d love to keep inspiring people."

Makabu also expressed interest in helping African boxers and said that the athletes from the continent "have never been given an opportunity to show their skills before."

"Now, IBA is really determined to promote boxing," he said.

"We are waiting for good opportunities to work together with IBA.

"We are moving ahead."