No pulling punches: Boxing stalwarts demand complete revamp

New Delhi : They are appalled, they are angry and they want accountability to be fixed. Indian boxing’s biggest names are demanding an all systems reboot to halt the sport’s decline after a medal-less Olympic campaign in Rio and their roadmap goes beyond having the much-delayed national federation.

From the country’s first Olympic medallist in boxing, Vijender Singh, to Commonwealth Games gold-medallists Akhil Kumar and Mohd Ali Qamar to the much-decorated M C Mary Kom, Indian boxing stalwarts stood united in their cry for change.

“There has to be some accountability. First there should be a federation and secondly there should be action against officials and coaches who are responsible for the current state of Indian boxing,” Vijender, who now plies his trade in the professional circuit, told PTI from London.

“As for the roadmap ahead, the coaching staff should be overhauled. What’s the problem? The schedule in the national camp has not changed for so many years. We need fresh ideas. If we have to move forward, we have to be ruthless and change the system,” he asserted.

Only three Indian boxers had qualified for the Rio Games, a sharp decline from the 8 who made the cut four years ago for the London edition. In fact, not a single woman boxer managed to qualify for the Games this time.
“Having a Federation is an absolute must. Once it is done, we can have qualified coaches to improve performance.

Good foreign coaches can be hired so that there is a new exchange of ideas and the coaches should also maintain discipline in the camp,” said Mary Kom, a five-time world champion and London Olympics bronze-medallist.
Boxing is currently being administered by an ad-hoc committee after the national federation was terminated by the International Boxing Association (AIBA).