Bickering in the Indian boxing community may lead to a mass exodus of Olympic medal prospects to the professional circuit as they are “starved” of exposure due to the absence of a national federation, South Asian Games Tournament Director (Boxing) Lenny D’Gama has said.
“Our boxers are starved of exposure, the primary reason being the derecognition of the Indian federation by (the world governing body) AIBA. After the World Championships in Doha, we did not have anything,” D’Gama, a former referee, said on the sidelines of the Games at the SAI Campus in the North Eastern Hill University on the outskirts of the city here.
A 13-member boxing delegation had an exposure trip to the Chinese city of Qian’an where the Zonal Olympic qualifiers are due next month but D’Gama said they need much more than that as none has yet qualified for the Olympics.
“I’m fearing that with the frustration creeping in among the boxers they might join the newly-launched professional boxing body (IBC). They’re at the mercy of Indian Boxing Federation. If it happens we’ll lose out on all the good boxers. Afterall, the ad-hoc body’s powers are limited.”
Currently two bodies, the Professional Boxing Organisation of India (PBOI) and the Indian Boxing Council — are handing out licenses to interested boxers.
“But the silver-lining is that AIBA wants to have a new federation and early elections. AIBA wants to scan the candidates and hopefully things would improve. If it does not happen and is prolonged and goes after Olympics, they’ll surely join pro boxing,” he added.
“In this moment of crisis, the SAG will give them some good opportunity and confidence, well aware of the below-par standard here.”
“I’ve a good feeling that we should get four in men and two women’s Olympic berths. But it’s a question mark on how many will make it to the podium in Rio.”