Thursday, February 19, 2009

AIBA - World series to revolutionalise boxing


NEW DELHI: The performance of Indian boxers at Beijing Games made them national heroes with the game catching the imagination of youngsters across
the country. Now, the Indian fans will get the opportunity to see some of the top boxers of the world in action at home.
In order to satisfy the ever-growing need of watching knock-outs and to ride the gravy-train of professional boxing, the game’s world amateur body (AIBA) has signed a treaty with marketing firm IMG to introduce ‘World Series Boxing’ from March, 2010 in which Delhi will be one of the 12 teams from across the world that will vie for the title.
In the series, somewhat similar to professional leagues like EPL or IPL, three continents - Asia, Europe and America - will each have four city teams (read countries) participating in the event which will see boxers exchanging blows without headgears and vests, fighting five rounds of three minutes each with five bouts in five categories with home-and-away matches thrown in.
The boxers will stand to make a reasonable amount of money, which was so far unheard of in amateur boxing, and will still be allowed to take part in the Olympics, unlike the professional boxers.
The ‘cities’ will fight among themselves before one qualifies for the grand finale to be held at Macau, which is famous for casinos, much like what Las Vegas is.
"To take Asia’s example, Delhi will first fight Bangkok and then Bangkok will come down to Delhi to fight here. At the end of five bouts, the scores will be counted. Only one country from each continent will be able to go through to the semi-final to be held at Macau. The fourth slot in the semis will go to the ‘best loser’," said PK Muralidharan Raja, secretary of Indian Boxing Association. Raja was part of the AIBA-IMG meeting in China on January 11, which was attended by the amateur heads from all across the world.
The World Series, when it comes into play in 2010, will be a fertile ring for the boxers as well as their respective federations to earn good money now and to sustain the flow when they retire. A franchisee from one continent will be allowed to buy boxers from other countries.
"Let’s say Cuba might be interested in buying Vijender Kumar and Akhil Kumar. Their franchisee will then have to get in touch with the Indian franchisee to sort out money issues in order to buy them. The boxers will themselves have to sign a contract with their respective federations so that a certain percentage of the money that is earned by them will also filter down to the federations," said Raja.
This decision was taken since the federations support a boxer when he goes through his bends. But when the boxer comes through and earns cash benefits, he does not share it with the federation. The World Series will help the federation to make money from the franchisee.
It will also make the boxers participating in the Series more secure as they will get pension after retiring.

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