Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Diyarbakır MP Garo Paylan has announced that a tournament will be named after Garbis Zakaryan, a Turkish and European welterweight boxing champion of Armenian ethnicity, who was known as the “Iron Fist” and was the first professional boxer of Turkey, Bianet reports.
Born in June 1930, Zakaryan passed away on January 25, 2020. Following his passing, Paylan sent a Parliamentary request to Minister of Youth and Sports Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu on January 29 and asked him “whether they had any projects to honor his achievements and contributions to the sports in Turkey and to keep his name alive and whether a sports facility would be named after him or not.”
In response to Paylan’s question, Minister Kasapoğlu has indicated that a tournament will be named after Garbis Zakaryan while they are still considering whether to name a sports facility after him or not.
“We welcome the news that a tournament will be named after Garbis Zakaryan, also known to have faced discrimination in his life in sports,” Paylan said.
“We are still expecting that our national boxer, whose achievements were not honored when he was alive, will be given his well-deserved value, albeit too late, and a sports facility will be named after him with the aim of introducing him to the next generations.”
Zakaryan began his boxing career in 1944 at the Boğaziçi Turnuvası (Bosporus Tournament). He became the Istanbul and Turkey champion at 48 kg in 1947 and 1948. He then represented the Turkish National Team for the first time in 1949 against Spain. He became the first professional boxer of Turkey in 1951. Zakaryan retired in 1966. He then worked as a boxing trainer including European champion, Cemal Kamaci.