Mohammed Rabii won the welterweight title at the amateur world championships in Qatar on Thursday night.
Wladimir and Vitali Kitschko were among the spectators who saw the Moroccan cap a perfect year by claiming the gold medal in front of a packed house on the final night of the tournament in in Doha.
Rabii, who was named the World Series boxer of the year earlier in the week, outpunched Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Yeleussinov to become the first Arab boxer to win a title in the the history of the championships.
The 22-year-old, undefeated during the whole season, set-off on a spontaneous lap of honour around the arena, to the delight of the many Moroccans in the crowd.
In probably the fight of the night, Ireland’s Joseph Ward lost to Cuba’s Julio La Cruz in the final of the light-heavyweight division.
Cruz was the strong favourite after being named the amateur boxer of the year for 2015 and winning his class at the Pan-American Games and the World Series of Boxing.
Ward, ranked number five in the world, was hoping to emulate Michael Conlan, who became the first Irishman to win a world amateur title the previous evening.
Ward went on the attack almost immediately and hurt Cruz in the first round but the Cuban fought back and even a cut above his right eye could not stop him winning his third world title after a torrid final minute.
He received his gold medal from the Klitschko brothers, who have dominated the heavyweight division in professional boxing for many years.
YOKA PULLS OFF SURPRISE
Frenchman Tony Yoka pulled off a surprise to win the super-heavyweight title by beating Kazakhstan’s Ivan Dychko in a close fight.
Dychko was the top-ranked boxer in the division but the 23-year-old Parisian won each of the rounds.
Yoka, who says his father told him, when he was ten years old, he would win gold at the 2016 Olympic Games, now targets the title in Rio de Janeiro next year.
“I think I can do it. I always think I can win. I know I have the talent to do it,” he said.
Azerbaijan’s Elvin Mamashzada won the flyweight title by beating Cuba’s top-seeded Yosbant Veitia.
But a Cuban won the lightweight title when Lazaro Alvarez beat Azerbaijan’s Albert Selimov.