MUMBAI: Super Boxing League isn’t quite going to wait for an affiliation or a green signal from the Boxing Federation of India to go ahead. Having positioned themselves as a professional franchise-based league, the organisers unveiled the eight teams and the competition format in Mumbai on Monday afternoon.
“It’s a professional league and we’re open to everyone. We don’t have to get anyone’s approval,” said Bill Dosanjh, who is organising the league along with British boxing star Amir Khan.
The duo had also brought the Super Fight League — a Mixed Martial Arts combat event — to India. “We’re trying our best to get the WBC (World Boxing Council) on board so that they can release a few of their international stars,” added Dosanjh, a UK-based businessman who manages former Olympic silver-medalist Khan.
The opening edition of the SBL will be held at the Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi from July 7 to August 12, with eight teams competing for the title and a total prize money of `4 crore. There are certain similarities with the SFL, in that the team will be divided into two groups of four and they will compete with each other in a round-robin format before the top two teams qualify for the knockouts.
Each team will have six fighters (five men, 1 woman) and six back-ups, in different weight categories. Of the 12, every team is allowed a maximum of three foreign boxers. The bouts will be fought over four three-minute rounds. If a boxer scores a technical knockout he/she wins four points for the team, and six in the case of a knockout.
With India becoming a land of leagues, the SBL is hoping to ride on the combat/contact sport bandwagon, adding to the likes of Pro Wrestling League and Pro Kabaddi League.
Also, Vijender Singh’s success as a professional boxer seems to have opened doors for aspiring Indian boxers. Dosanjh is confident that they can find enough local talent to fill the team rosters (96 boxers in total) for the opening season.
One of the requirements for the franchises, who have a total financial commitment of Rs 6 crore per season, is to start boxing gyms in their regions.
“People can go and box for 12 rounds in these gyms,” said Dosanjh. “Also, boxers will be employed as trainers in these gyms. We are creating jobs for them as well as building a boxing ecosystem.”
The target is that the franchises have to establish five gyms in five years.