The Indian Boxing Federation’s (IBF) plans of starting the Indian Boxing League (IBL), on the lines of Indian Premier League (IPL), later this year have been put on hold, as AIBA, the international boxing federation, has denied permission to start the domestic league.
The IBL was to kick off with four city-based teams and plans were afoot to increase the number of teams and include foreign boxers.
‘No conflict of interests’
“On AIBA’s advice, the IBL has been put on hold,” said PK Muralidharan Raja, secretary general, IBF.
“With the inclusion of the Mumbai franchise as one of the 12 teams for the World Series of Boxing (WSB), our focus is on the success of the world league in India. As the IBL is on the WSB’s format, we do not want a conflict of interests,” he added.
The IBF, at its annual general body meeting at Jamshedpur in February, decided to hold the IBL and the blueprint had been approved.
The idea was to use the IBL to popularise boxing in the country, but after AIBA’s refusal, the Indian federation is banking on the WSB’s success.popularity an issue?
The reason behind AIBA’s stand seems to be the increasing popularity of the sport in India, and the world body is wary that the Indian league could overtake the WSB in popularity.
“The IBF wanted to start the IBL last year, but Videocon’s pullout out of the WSB jeopardised plans. This year, the AIBA had given a positive response and their condition was that the Indian franchise should join the WSB. After TransStadia became one of the franchises for the world league, it was certain that the IBL would start. Now, it seems AIBA is worried and they don’t want to share the popularity and sponsorship with any other league,” said an IBF