Amit Panghal has to get it in his mind that he is no longer our star boxer: BFI chief Ajay Singh | Boxing News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: Indian boxing has been doing fairly well at the international stage. Recently, the junior pugilists won 39 medals, including 15 gold, at the Asian Youth & Junior Boxing Championships in Amman, Jordan.
Back home, the boxers were felicitated at the Capital by the Sports Authority of India and Boxing Federation of India (BFI) on Wednesday. TOI caught up with BFI president Ajay Singh in an exclusive conversation on different issues related to Indian boxing.
What is your fair assessment about what went wrong at the Tokyo Olympics?
Before Covid hit us, we were doing exceptionally well. At the Commonwealth, Asian… any global level championship. A part of what went wrong at the Olympics was due to the lack of preparation due to the Covid. We first tried to train in India under a lot of restrictions. Then we tried and sent them overseas just before the Olympics. I think there was a gap in that entire process. Also we had peaked the year before. The entire plan of the federation was to make our top boxers peak for 2020. The Olympics never happened in 2020. I know we got one medal in Tokyo, my fair assessment is we at least should’ve got two more medals.
How do you handle a boxer like Amit Panghal, who has won a world championship silver but failed miserably at the Olympics, so that he is in the right frame of mind for future championships?
Simply, he has to get it in his mind that he is no longer our star boxer. No more the star status. You are there with everybody, and you box with everybody. I hope there is an increased amount of competition in his weight category. There is Deepak (Hooda), he is excellent. From my perspective, send Amit for one tournament and then send Deepak for the next. They’ve to go side by side. Both have to keep on fighting each other. From now onwards, there will be trials for everyone. No one is going to get any special treatment. Even Olympic medallist Lovlina has had to undergo trials to get selected in the squad for world championships and Asian Games.
What are your plans to make sure Indian boxing remains a force at the international level in the future?
We are looking to rejig our domestic championship structure. Today the competition structure is such that you’ve very limited number of people who can get to the top. In the national championship, one boxer from each weight category from a state participates. But a state like Haryana or Assam has 4-5 boxers in a weight category who are exceptionally good – almost as good as the No.1 guy. Those people never show up at a national championship because we’ve only one boxer. So we’re trying to create an open championship structure. A national open championship, state open championship, district open championship… so that anybody who wants to box can come and showcase their skills.
Is there any league or big-ticket event, to be organised by BFI, in the pipeline?
We are trying to put in a Fight Night kind of structure. Weekend Fight Nights – get a cash prize if you win. Primarily Indian, but sometimes international boxers will also come and fight and create that excitement. Today India is a boxing powerhouse – everybody wants to come here. The Uzbekistan team wants to have joint training programmes with us. Fight Nights will increase the visibility of the sport, of our boxers. We also want to restart the Indian Boxing League by the end of this year. The India Open is also on. All these will be enacted after the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
As a president, how do you feel when boxers go to the court?
When Arundhati (Choudhary) went to the court, I was very disappointed. We want to select the absolute best. We’ve no ulterior motives. This (going to the court) is not a healthy trend. We requested her not to go; that said, it’s anybody’s right to go to the court of law. It’s wrong, it’s unhealthy. She got a real blasting from the court, from the judge. Boxers need to focus on the sport. All our trials are video recorded and are put on the BFI website. Our only aim is to make sure the best boxers go through.


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