The Boxing Federation of India has decided to allow professional boxers to compete in amateur tournaments sanctioned by it, bringing itself in sync with the stand taken by world body AIBA.
The decision was taken at a BFI Executive Committee meeting on Thursday and is applicable with immediate effect. The national championships for men are scheduled to be held in October, followed by the women’s tournament and both the events might see participation by pro boxers for the first time.
“...in the recently concluded Executive Committee meeting it was discussed and decided that since the International Boxing Association is allowing such relaxations, BFI too allows similar relaxations for such boxers to participate in the State/National or Inter-Department tournaments,” stated a letter from BFI Secretary General Jay Kowli to all member states and units.
“This decision will be applicable with immediate effect and all boxers who have played professionally in the past can seek relief under this note,” the letter added.
It also states that the concession will not be extended to boxers who are participating in tournaments organised by “unauthorised” bodies.
The BFI did not specify further but it is learnt that stance is meant for boxers who registered to compete in events organised by the terminated Indian Amateur Boxing Federation, which has unsuccessfully tried to get the status of being the official body to run the sport in the country.
“Such Boxers will still need to apply to BFI through their respective BFI Member Unit/s for a ‘No Objection Certificate’,” the letter stated.
The latest move opens the doors for boxers, who are plying their trade in the pro circuit to compete in the amateur events here even at the departmental level.
India’s most prominent crossover to the pro side has been Vijender Singh, who is currently competing in the US circuit. However, he is unlikely to return to the amateur events despite the concessions now.
The AIBA allowed professional boxers to compete in the Olympics months before the 2016 edition in Rio de Janeiro and even organised a qualifying tournament for them.
In India, there was no clarity on the professional boxers’ amateur status until the recent decision.
(with PTI inputs)