Boxing for Glory
A little-known success story has just come to light, involving 2 talented local teenagers.
Fethiye has a small boxing club of 30 young people who are trained by Sami Sunay. He is an electrician by trade, and a young married man, but gives up his time every day after work from 6pm till 10pm, to train the youngsters to achieve their ambitions to become champions of Turkey.
Sami was a kick boxer and Thai boxer from 2004, but following his military service in 2009 took up fist box training after obtaining a trainer’s certificate.
He has been very successful in that 2 of his pupils are now regional champions! Sami Kaya and Yasin Cetinkaya, both aged 13 years are Aegean champions in their weight groups, 40kg and 43kg respectively, following the Aegean Championship Tournament held in Mugla in May 2012. Sami Kaya is presently ranked 3rd in Turkey in his weight group.
The boys’ success lies in their dedication to their sport, training several hours every day with their coach. The club premises is a room rented from Fatih Anadolu Lise next to the Police Station in Fethiye centre. The club is privately run with subscriptions from the families of 45 TL per month, but most of them can’t pay. They only have very basic equipment as there are no sponsors for their activities.
It is admirable that so many youngsters prefer to dedicate their time to a healthy sport instead of idling their time on the streets or internet cafes. Boxing is a disciplined sport and teaches a good health- and living-style, alertness of mind and respect for others. Although it is a contact sport it is not violent or aggressive, which can’t be said for Turkish football! You don’t see uniformed policemen at a boxing match!
Because the 2 boys are Aegean champions they are now entitled to enter the Turkish National Championship (13 year age group) which is being held in Kars, Eastern Turkey from 11th June. Around 850 young boys of that age will take part in the tournament to see who becomes the champion of Turkey on the final day, Friday 15th June.
A lack of funds in the club to send the boys and their trainer to the event meant that the trainer, Sami Sunay, had to approach several people in Fethiye to ask for help with sponsorship, but he was not successful in raising money. They needed around 2000TL for travel costs, accommodation and food for the duration of the tournament.
The news of this event reached the ears of Perihan Agnelli as Sami Kaya’s father works at the Fethiye Animal Centre. Perihan approached Fethiye Kanal F to make a news report which was shown on the TV network, but after 2 days nobody had approached the club with offers of help.
The deadline for obtaining the funds for the trip was fast approaching, i.e. the day before departure, so Perihan approached Jill Erdogan, the treasurer of Fethiye International Group. Jill had a sleepness night thinking about this but was so successful she raised 1500TL. 500TL was from F.I.G., 500TL came from Grace Carter and 532TL from Fionna and Eric Robson. Perihan also provided 500TL, so the boxing club was finally able to meet their travel expenses.
The sponsors met with Sami Sunay, the boys and their families at the Otogar on the night of their departure, where we wished them all well.
A spokesperson for F.I.G. stated, “ Every child has a dream. Both Sami and Yasir dream of being a boxer. These children and their trainer are determined to show that with hard work and a lot of effort and perseverance, dreams can be realised. We at F.I.G. thought we should help them to realise their dreams, as one of our benefactors stated “Who knows if Sami Kaya, who is 3rd in Turkey now, could be 1st this year then in 8 years time he could possibly be in the Turkish Olympic team” We at F.I.G. wish them the best of luck in Kars.”
Our biggest hope is that this will bring some sponsors forward to promote and help the club for the future, directly to the club or through F.I.G.
We will publish the results of the tournament in our next publication.