By Farid Behbud, Chen Xin
KABUL, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- The World Boxing Union (WBU) champion, Hamidullah Rahimi encouraged the war-tired youths in Afghanistan on Tuesday by grabbing the golden belt in the first professional boxing event ever in the history of the war-torn country.
"It is an exciting match. I am instigated by the first professional competition. It is a great day as I have forgotten the war and conflicts for a while," an excited female viewer, Maryam Siddiqi, told Xinhua.
Rahimi knocked out his Tanzanian challenger Said Mbelwa in the seventh round after Mbelwa admitted retreating to his angle with a shoulder hurt.
"I am fighting for peace. The banner of this match is 'Fighting for Peace'," Rahimi told the audience.
"It is a great moment for my country. This gold belt is not just mine. It is for Afghanistan," energized Rahimi told after winning the race.
"We want no more fighting. The youth of this country must not hold a gun. They should wear boxing gloves or play football," he said.
"As soon as I heard the advertisement about the competition, I've decided to come and see in the event. It is the first boxing match I ever saw in my live," the 28-year-old Siddiqi went on to say.
"It is for first time that Afghanistan is hosting a big sport event like this. I am sure it can promote peace and make Afghans happy at least for one day," she said.
Thousands of boxing fans were watching the match in a giant tent, located in western Kabul amid tight security while millions of Afghans were watching the event broadcasted live by government-run National TV and a newly established local TV channel Khurshid.
"It had to be held in a sport stadium but we do not have such a building in Kabul. Instead they hold the match in the Loya Jirga tent. It is also ok,"
The youngest member of Afghan Wolesi Jirga or Lower House of the Parliament, Baktash Siawash, who was also among the eager viewers, told Xinhua that his country was raring to go for a sign of ordinary life.
"It is an activity for peace building in Afghanistan and also an emotional moment for me as a member of the parliament. We yearn for peace and welcome any kind of action which is helpful for peace." Siawash said.
"I think sport is the biggest ambassador of peace. If we have more activities of this kind in Afghanistan, it will send a message of peace to people of Afghanistan, because we cannot bring peace only by guns."
Mbelwa, 23, fights in the super-middleweight division and has a record of 31 fights with 19 wins, eight losses and four draws. Rahimi is six years older than his opponent and has won 20 of his 21 fights.
Ahead of the fight, Mbelwa said that he understood that the occasion was "a very special event for Afghanistan and sent a very important message for the whole world". He vowed to fight as hard as any other match once in the ring.
"I hope that this global victory could encourage our youth in every part of the country and boost their endeavors for ensuring peace in the country, in order to provide better opportunity for further growth of sport in the country," local media quoted Afghan Minister of Information and Culture Dr. Sayed Makhdom Raheen as saying in his congratulatory message in the wake of the event.
Rahimi, 29, was born Kabul in September 1983. In 1992, he fled the civil war and went to the Hamburg, Germany with his parents.
A crucial experience from his childhood marked the beginning of his boxing career:
In 1998, the very first thing he did was to acquire the basic skills of Thai boxing. Obsessed with his goal to become stronger and better, Hamid spent several months in 2002 in a training camp in Thailand, which is the birth place of Thai boxing.
Since the collapse of Taliban regime, Afghan athletes have already joined several competitions at regional and international level and started bringing medals and honors to the country.
Beijing Olympic medalist, Rohullah Nikpa, won the only medal in London 2012 Olympic Games for his war-torn country.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had suspended the membership of Afghanistan in 1999 due to Taliban's brutal policies that included restrictions on the country's athletes.
The Taliban fundamentalist regime had outlawed a series of sports activities aside from forcing athletes to grow long beard and wear tall shirts and trousers during matches.
The IOC lifted the suspension in 2002 after the collapse of the Taliban regime.
The tickets for the fight sold out too fast, many fans were trying to buy but it was too difficult, Kabul resident, Shir Shah Ghafori, told Xinhua.
"The tickets were too expensive. Many sport lovers failed to enter the tent. It was too difficult to get the tickets. We do have economy problems and such matches cost us a lot to watch from close range," Ghafori.