Nothing professional about pro boxing’s India debut

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 30, 2015 01:04 IST

An association that doesn’t know who a promoter is, bouts whose financial purse are not yet decided and boxers who look like fish out of water. Professional boxing’s debut in India on Saturday could well be the case of an undercooked delicacy.

India has a history of producing competent amateur boxers, so much that the discipline is now viewed as a major source of medals.

Professional boxing – the richer and brasher cousin, however, has never had a footing here. The Pro-Boxing Champions Night, organised by the North India Boxing Association (NIBA), is meant to change that, so is the claim. In reality though, this is a first India could do without.

The powers that be of NIBA, for a start, do not understand the idea of promoters, at least till Friday evening, this despite the fact that in pro circuit promoters more often than not decide bouts. When asked who the promoters of the pugilists are, Jay Singh Shekhawat, general secretary of NIBA, was left scratching his head. Not surprisingly, the financial purses of the bouts – there are four – are not yet decided. That or the NIBA is completely unaware of the purse.

The World Boxing Council rules state: “After a WBC sanction has been issued, the boxers and their representatives shall have a period to freely engage in negotiations (“free negotiations”) to reach an agreement on financial terms that will apply to their WBC contest.”

Here, the organisers do not even know who the promoters are.

“The main bout will carry prize money of Rs 5 lakh. The other bouts are not yet decided; we’ll let you know soon,” said Shekhawat. The ‘main bout’ implies to the WBC Asian welterweight championship fight between Neeraj Goyat and Nelson Gulpe of Philippines. Even on the Rs 5 lakh set aside for the championship fight, there is no clarity on what percentage of it goes to the winner and how much the appearance money is.

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