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Indian franchise pulls out of boxing series

Updated: Oct 17, 2012, 18:26 PM IST

New Delhi: No Indian will be figuring in the 2012-13 season of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) with India Fighters, formerly Mumbai Fighters, pulling out.

Though officially neither the lone Indian franchise nor the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) is willing to go on record on the development, officials from both told that no Indian will be seen in action in the WSB this season.

The Fighters were scheduled to take on Dynamo Moscow in the Russian capital Nov 16 in their opening fight.

The Fighters, owned by Mumbai-based TransStadia, reached the quarterfinals last season, but this time around the boxers were not called for any training in the run-up for the event and this led to speculation that they may not be going to Moscow.

All that a franchise source was willing to say is that quite a few reasons made it impossible for them to take part this season, but they would be back next season.

Groupism in the IABF also came to the fore with one of the officials saying one of his own fellow office-bearers was trying to sabotage the venture.

"The franchise invested approximately Rs.11 crore last year but they were disillusioned with the attitude of the top federation officials. In such a situation, not many top boxers were willing to join the series," the IABF official told to a news agency.

In the last edition many top boxers stayed away from the semi-professional boxing league. Olympians Vijender Singh and Vikas Krishan did not participate as they were signed by other sports management companies. Also, the Indian army did not allow its boxers to participate in the pro-league.

Curiously, the IABF has scheduled the senior men`s national championships from Oct 30 to Nov 4 in Hyderabad, denying the WSB boxers any time to prepare for the WSB which will run from Nov 16 till March 2013.

A renowned boxer who turned out for the Mumbai Fighters last season said: “This is a disaster, a big blow to Indian boxers.”

“Though the federation says it is backing the WSB, in reality it is opposed to it. They did not help the franchise get top boxers last year and that is the root cause for the pull-out.”

“In the first edition, when Videocon had bought the team, the same thing happened and the sponsor backed out for want of support from the IABF,” said the boxer.

The Indian boxers got contracts worth lakhs of rupees last season and that is a huge payout for a couple of months compared to what they otherwise earn for a living.

The WSB is a semi-professional club-based boxing league the International Boxing Association (AIBA) started three years ago and it is different from the Olympic chartered boxing because the boxers do not wear vests, head guards and there are five rounds instead of three of amateur boxing.