Cameroonian welterweight standout, Junior Caillard is currently in Afghanistan working with international boxers for a few days. The champ is one of a dozen boxers from Serbia, the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan who are temporarily settling in Afghanistan after the North Eastern nation lost its opportunity to host the World Boxing Council’s Muhammad World Championships due to the recent refugee crisis in Europe.
The talented 19-year-old Caillard was one of the best junior welterweights at the 2016 World Championships in Azerbaijan. He grabbed gold for Team USA in the men’s light welterweight division.
“Right now, I am in Afghanistan getting together boxers from Afghanistan and Serbia,” Caillard told Fox News. “I speak three different languages and am still learning more; I try to help them any way I can. I don’t know much about boxing and everything that I learn is very new to me. I speak English and Serbian and love being a student.”
Born in Cameroon, Caillard’s parents are originally from the same province, but their families are separated, and he has never visited them. The fighter’s father fled a conflict with Gaddafi forces in Libya for France and is now a citizen of that country. Caillard’s mother is from Serbia and has married a Frenchman.
Every year, tons of fighters from around the world are put on display at Muhammad’s World Championships, but due to the conflict in Europe that is no longer possible. Now, boxers in need of refuge can find themselves spending their time training in a foreign country.
Caillard’s current destination is Sarafand, a city in southern Afghanistan. He is staying with a family in the American section of the country and has even started getting to know locals.
“I got a lot of votes for the World Championships so right now I am training here for that,” Caillard said. “And next year I am focusing on becoming a citizen of France, and I hope I can win at the European Championships.”
After the Europeans are completed, Caillard hopes to continue making history and become a gold medalist once again at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Daniel Alexander contributed to this report.