BFI: New boxing league on the anvil

Apart from the new boxing league, BFI is also looking to host at least one major international tournament every year in the run up to the Tokyo Games, beginning with the Women’s Youth World Championships in November this year.

Boxing Federation of India (BFI) President Ajay Singh with International Boxing Association (AIBA) President Dr Ching Kuo-Wu.   -  PTI

In the midst of all the different sporting leagues proliferating in the country, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) is planning to add one of its own by the end of this year.

BFI President Ajay Singh, announcing the plans for a franchise-based league here on Wednesday, said that the league would not only help youngsters develop their skills and provide them exposure, but will help them financially and contribute to their preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Accompanied by International Boxing Association (AIBA) President Ching-Kuo Wu, after the conclusion of the 2017 AIBA Commissions Meeting, Singh added that the BFI was also looking to host at least one major international tournament every year in the run up to the Tokyo Games, beginning with the Women’s Youth World Championships in November this year.

“The Indian women boxers have been doing very well in recent times. The Youth World Championships will be a great opportunity for the Indian boxers as they will be able to compete in such a huge event and it will also help in our preparations for Tokyo 2020,” Singh said.

He also said that Indian boxers would be part of the next season of the World Series Boxing, the semi-professional, franchise-based competition, that is also part of the qualifying structure for Olympics. An Indian team, Mumbai Fighters, had been part of the second season of the WSB way back in 2011-12, but there has been little in terms of Indian interest or participation in the competition since then. Both Singh and Wu confirmed that an Indian franchise was also possible and talks were on with potential investors.

Interestingly, the Indian Boxing Council (IBC), affiliated to professional boxing regulating associations including the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and World Boxing Association (WBA), had already kicked off professional fights in the country last year and has been conducting Pro-Boxing Fight Nights across the country.

The BFI also plans to set up boxing academies across the country to groom and develop younger players like Sachin Singh, who won gold at the Youth World Championships last year and was present on the occasion.

Wu, meanwhile, said the situation in Indian boxing had normalized since the BFI’s formation last year and that India had the potential to become a superpower in the world of boxing. The erstwhile Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) had been banned by AIBA in 2012 for “possible manipulation” of elections before a new management took charge under Sandeep Jajodia and the nomenclature Boxing India. It survived for less than a year before BFI came into existence and managed to get full membership of the AIBA and recognition from the sports ministry.