Indian Boxing Federation rues loss of franchise for global event

India : The Indian Boxing Federation (IBF) was left to rue a missed opportunity for the country`s amateur pugilists on Friday after Delhi forfeited a World Series Boxing (WSB) franchise due to lack of sponsorship.

The Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) has instead awarded the franchise to the Incheon Redwings from South Korea to complete the WSB`s Asia conference.

"The South Korean city of Incheon, West of the capital Seoul, stepped into the ring after WSB decided to terminate its agreement with the Delhi Franchise," the AIBA said in a statement.

"This is due to domestic political problems in the boxing community in India."

The worldwide tournament, starting on Nov. 19 and running until the finals in Macau next May, comprises 12 city-based franchises spread across three regional conferences -- Asia, the Americas and Europe.

The Delhi franchise`s fate became uncertain after main sponsor Videocon withdrew without citing a reason last month.

"Videocon backed out at the last moment. We tried our best to get a sponsor but there was not much time," Bhupinder Singh, vice president of IBF, told to reporters .

"It`s very disappointing. Our boxers would have received a lot of promotion from the event and it would have helped popularise the sport."

Videocon officials were not immediately available for comments.

Boxing has witnessed increased popularity in India since Vijender Singh won bronze in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

India won seven medals, including three gold, in the recent Delhi Commonwealth Games.

Bureau Report