The Boxing Federation of India chief Ajay Singh, on Friday, announced that the inaugural Indian Open will be held between January 28 and February 1 next year. There will be four teams in the event, which will have men and women pugilists fight it out at the Thyagaraj Stadium in New Delhi.

Singh revealed his plans for Indian boxing’s foray into the leagues format after rewarding the side who created waves in Guwahati at the Youth World Championships. “Keeping in mind that 2018 is a crucial year for boxing because of the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, we are now planning to host the Indian Open for the very first time from January 28-February 1,” Singh said.

The four teams will be categorised as India A, India B, India C and India D: “There will be four teams each of both men and women which will include all the Olympic weight categories. This will help us hunt the medal prospects not only for the upcoming tournaments but also for Tokyo Olympics and further.”

India on track for Asiad and CWG

Fresh from India’s dream run in Guwahati, Singh is now targeting a rich haul in the upcoming Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games. “Preparations are going on in full swing. Our aim is to maximize the medal haul and we are looking forward to selecting our best teams for the event.”

“We are fortunate to have many top boxers in each category, so we have a strong bench strength as well. I feel the competition is going to be really tough,” he added.

“It is the first time in history that India has hosted a [boxing] event of such stature, so it is certainly a huge step forward. The success of these young girls will surely brighten India’s prospects in boxing in global tournaments,” Singh said.

The Indian contingent, coached by Rafaelle Bermagasco, finished on top of the Youth Worlds table with five gold medals and two bronze, their best ever finish in the competition’s history. The gold medallists – Jyoti, Nitu, Ankushita Boro, Sakshi and Shashi – were rewarded with Rs 2 lakh. The bronze medallists – Neha Yadav and Anupama – were handed Rs 50,000.

Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore also announced award of Rs 6.70 lakh for all the gold medal winners at the Youth Worlds.

“You girls have changed the old thinking that girls can only take part in some games. This thinking should end, anyone can take part in anything,” said Rathore.