New Delhi: The Indian franchise in the World Series of Boxing is struggling to rope in pugilists employed with the Indian Army as the department is refusing to give them permission to compete in the professional-style event.
Of all the boxers employed with the defence services, the ones attached with the Army are not getting a chance to sign contracts with the Mumbai Fighters as their department is dilly-dallying on giving the requisite No Objection Certificate.
The Mumbai Fighters, owned by Transstadia Pvt. Ltd., features the likes of former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Akhil Kumar and former Asian Championships bronze-medallist Jitender Kumar in the team.
The team management wants to rope in Army boxers, who are considered well-equipped to deal with the rigours of the event`s five-round format and have now sought help from the Indian Boxing Federation, the Secretary General of which is a serving Army officer -- Brig. P K Muralidharan Raja.
"The Navy and Air Force has no problem releasing their boxers for the WSB but it is the Army which is creating problems. They say `we don`t want our boxers to get injured because WSB has no head guards for its competitors` but come on, army boxers of all should not be worried about all this," an IBF official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
"We have written a letter to the Ministry of Defence seeking an early resolution to the matter so that these boxers are allowed to participate in one of the biggest international events currently in progress," he said.
The boxers too are keen to participate as winning the individual championships would ensure Olympic qualification.
"Everything set aside, it is a shot at Olympic qualification. We would certainly want to participate," said one of the boxers employed with the Army.