Caborn backs Liverpool's big league bid

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The Independent Online

Richard Caborn, the Sports Minister, has officially backed the bid by Paul King, of Liverpool City Council, and the Amateur Boxing Association of England to host the sport's World Championships in 2005 and yesterday Professor Anwar Chowdhry, the president of the International Amateur Boxing Association, arrived for an inspection.

During the last eight years King has run one of the amateur sport's best multi-national tournaments and in the event's short history six Olympic champions, including Audley Harrison, have fought at the Liverpool festival before taking part in the 1996 and 2000 Games. This week King is hosting the European Cadet Championships, an event open to boxers aged between 15 and 16, and over 30 countries have sent a total of 203 boxers.

"The World Amateur Boxing Championships would be a great event for British sport and a terrific coup for the city of Liverpool," said Caborn during his brief visit to the preliminary rounds of the boxing on Tuesday. "I think a 20-year plan of development is realistic to see the sport grow to its true potential. The Worlds in 2005 would be a great start."

King's efforts to secure the 2005 Championships and defeat a bid from Denmark will depend on the impression the current tournament has on Chowdhry during his short stay in the city. King said: "We are one of the leading boxing cities in the world and I know we can offer Professor Chowdhry all the assurances he needs."

During the last year the amateur sport has finally emerged from two decades of decline and just a few months ago the ABA received over £12m from Sport England's lottery funding, which is designed to last until the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The sport's image has also been helped by Harrison's gold in Sydney and David Haye's silver at the recent World Championships in Belfast.