New Delhi: The Indian Boxing Council (IBC) is keen to ensure that the country’s boxers can pursue amateur and professional careers at the same time, and wants a dialogue with the national federation on setting standards for such a scheme that would “increase the income of can supplement boxers and produce more champions”.
Speaking to the media ahead of the professional debut of former world medalist Sarjubala Devi on Saturday against Tanzania’s Kayage Lulu Gaithabi in a 51kg showdown in Dubai, IBC, the licensing body for professional boxing in India, said it is essential that BFI indicates its nod to boxers to pursue professional careers.
“And why not? The International Boxing Association (IBA) allows professionals in its amateur events. It helps them find additional income, because from one country there is only one World or Olympic champion in each category in the amateur circuit can be,” said IBC President Brig. (Retd) PK Muralidharan Raja.
Currently, the BFI has no policy for professional boxers and only allows them to participate in the professional events sanctioned by the IBA. This could change in the coming weeks at the annual general meeting of the body where the issue is being discussed.
“Up until now, our stance has been not to allow our registered boxers to participate in random pro events as we think it could cause chaos as we also have our own calendar. But we will have another round of discussions at the AGM and a new policy may be drafted soon,” BFI Secretary General Hemanta Kalita told PTI.
Raja said he had recently asked the IBA’s opinion on the matter and the world organization had no objection. He is still waiting for message from BFI after asking them for an interview.
“The IBA reiterated its stated policy to us that professional boxers are welcome at amateur events. They have been participating in the Olympics since 2016,” he emphasized.
At the Tokyo Games, Russian Albert Batyrgaziev and Uzbekistan Bakhodir Jalolov became the first set of professional boxers to win Olympic gold medals.
Batyrgaziev defeated a fellow Duke Ragan of the USA pro in the featherweight final.
Jalolov, on the other hand, entered the competition as the reigning world champion in the super heavyweight division. This was after 40 professional boxers qualified for the Games.
Sarjubala, who spent her amateur career in the shadow of the great MC Mary Kom, also urged the national agency to create clear policies so that boxers can better support themselves.
“During the COVID-19 lockdown, it was especially tough because we didn’t know how to train. If we get to explore the professional track, it helps us stay in shape and it also improves our stamina,” she said ahead of the first six-lap race of her career.
Promoter Mujtaba Kamal, who is said to be at the helm of Sarjubala’s fight in Dubai, said professional boxers should not “feel like criminals because they just want to have a career”.
“There are hundreds of boxers in India, not everyone gets the chance to compete in the big amateur events. So what happens to the rest of them? Don’t they deserve a chance for more financial stability? Professional boxing can offer them that,” he said. he.
Raja said the money, while not much to start with, rises significantly once a boxer can impress promoters.
“So you start with smaller amounts, maybe Rs 5,000-10,000 per fight, but if you show that you are good, it can go up significantly. A boxer can easily earn a lakh per fight, but for that we need to have a good system and that is only possible if there is coordination with BFI,” he said.
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