Boxing Federation of India set to join World Boxing, help sport into LA2028

The respective NOC will have to exclude such a National Boxing Federation from its membership.”
BFI chief Ajay Singh (left) and WB president Boris van der Vorst during the announcement on Friday
BFI chief Ajay Singh (left) and WB president Boris van der Vorst during the announcement on FridayPhoto | BFI website

CHENNAI: In a dramatic development, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) has agreed to join the World Boxing, the newly-formed governing body. It was formed after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) refused to recognize the International Boxing Association (IBA). This was announced on the sidelines of the World Olympic qualifiers being held in Bangkok.

The BFI, however, says that as far as tournaments go, they would like to continue participating in events organised by the IBA for the sake of boxers and the sport. It needs to be seen how IBA reacts to this.

Joining WB became imperative after IOC had said once again reiterated that National Federations affiliated with the IBA would not be allowed to feature at the Olympics. This newspaper has also highlighted the IOC statement after the IBA had announced prize-money for Olympic medalists at the Paris Games.

The IOC had said: “any boxer whose National Federation adheres to the IBA, will not be able to participate in the Olympic Games LA28. The respective NOC will have to exclude such a National Boxing Federation from its membership.”

BFI president Ajay Singh, during an interaction with select media, said that India had been in dialogue with the WB for a while and was mindful of IOC’s stand on IBA and its members. Singh also highlighted IOC’s statement during the conversation. However, for BFI, it was a tactical decision keeping in mind the boxers’ benefits.

In fact, WB chief, Boris van de Vorst, had visited India in May and had discussions with the BFI and the general assembly gave its nod. The WB was formed last year with an aim to keep boxing as part of the Olympic programme and even on Friday, the WB chief said that their main goal would be to reinstate boxing as soon as the LA Games (as it stands, the sport will miss out).

The BFI will be pivotal for mobilizing the regional bloc. “This is a body that is promoted and supported by the IOC and I think it is our responsibility as a leading boxing power to ensure that we now strengthen the new body and make sure that we put the systems and processes in place and get other countries to join the body.

Also ensure that this body helps boxing develop and grow in India and around the world,” said Singh. “India expects to play a leading role in setting up the Asian Confederation of the WB and we also hope to host that Asian Confederation in New Delhi.”

The WB has been in touch with the IOC, especially after the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) ruled against the IBA’s recognition. In fact, the WB is meeting other countries in Bangkok where they have a lounge allocated to them at an IOC-conducted event.

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