It’s a head on. With the 5th Commonwealth Boxing Championship beginning in the Capital from March 10, the kings of the ring will put on their boxing gloves even before the opening of the Indian Premiere League.
“Yes, IPL is big in India, but we are not worried,” said World No.1 Vijender Singh, while announcing the event last week. “We will be fighting for our country and we’re sure people will be interested,” he added.
And there’s a dash of glamour to the international event that will see nearly 140 boxers from 17 countries in attendance. While actress-singer Sophie Chaudhary has confirmed her presence at the do, the organisers are trying to rope in some more celebrity names. Also promised are live dances and other performances.
“In the US, boxing extravaganzas are huge. We have to make something similar,” said Singh. “There is no harm in mixing entertainment with sports. IPL is a great example of how sports can be turned into a great entertainment, and we want boxing to be a blockbuster too. Uske liye mirch masala zaroor hoga.” Ace boxer Akhil Kumar agrees with his fellow Olympian, but feels entertainment alone isn’t enough to make an event a hit. “It’s the players who provide the real entertainment,” he says. “IPL mein bhi sixers lagte hai toh taali padhti hai, cheerleaders ke nachne pe nahi.”
Another Olympian, Dinesh Kumar, known as hard-punching southpaw, too is ready for the challenge. “It doesn’t matter what others are doing. We will go all out to make our country proud,” says Kumar.