Cuban coach BI Fernandez, who has been instrumental in raising the boxing standards in the country, has expressed his dissatisfaction in the some of the weight categories at the end of the 59th National Boxing Championship which concluded at Lal Bahadur Indoor Stadium on Sunday.
After watching the numerous bouts, Fernandez, who is the first foreign coach to receive the Dronacharya award, felt there are very good pugilists in other categories.
“I think there is not much of standard in 56 kgs. It is a big disappointment. However, there are very good boxers in 49 kgs and 52 kgs. I think there are even promising boxers in 69kg and 75kg categories. There are average boxers in 81 kgs and 91 kgs,’’ he said.
He said most of the leading pugilists did not train after the London Olympics, so they did not come for this Nationals. “Our target, include Olympics and Worlds, is to improve our standard and bring more medals to the country. We want to improve our performances. But unfortunately in London Olympics we drew blank. It was sheer bad luck due to bad decisions. I think if we had won medal, it would have inspired others to perform and it would have been a different story,’’ he added.
The All India Boxing Association (AIBA), according to Fernandez, will now select a good number of boxers for a long term camp. We will pick good number of boxers. We will have more quantity and then look for quality. Now days,we have good boxers at international meets but we need back up who can give good competition. That will be a good way to prepare a national team,’’ he pointed out. Insisting that the Indian boxers were cheated in London Olympics, Fernandez said there are lot of changes in modern boxing.
“Sometimes it is confusing to the boxers as regards to the scoring system. I think the boxers have to be fit and strong. They should be technically sound. They are improving but you got to have the killer instinct. That is lacking a bit at times,’’ he said.
Fernandez said he has always advised the Indians to be patient. “A boxer has to wait for an opening and then unleash the punches. Therefore strong defence, weaving and dodging are also vital for any boxer. Of course, good foot work would help any boxer,’’ he said.
Finally, when asked about the steady decline of the Cubans dominance in the Worlds and Olympics, Fernandez said the first four boxers have moved out of the country. “Cuba is losing boxers as most of the them are migrating to USA. We are a small country with a less population. We have number four to seven. The top three are moving away from the country.”