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India Joins Newly Formed World Boxing Body

The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) has taken a significant step by agreeing to join the World Boxing (WB), a newly established governing body formed after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) refused to recognize the International Boxing Association (IBA). This move comes amidst the ongoing World Olympic qualifiers in Bangkok, where the BFI’s affiliation will be ratified by the WB executive board.

Balancing Act Between WB and IBA

While joining the WB has become essential to secure Indian boxers’ participation in the Olympics, the BFI aims to continue participating in IBA-organized events for the sake of the sport and its athletes. However, the IBA’s reaction to this decision remains to be seen.

India has joined nations like the United States, Canada, Sweden, Germany, and Great Britain as original members of the WB. Interestingly, BFI president Ajay Singh remains the IBA vice president, according to the IBA website.

IOC’s Stern Warning

The IOC had previously warned that any boxer whose National Federation adheres to the IBA would be excluded from the Olympic Games in Los Angeles 2028. The IOC’s stance was further reinforced after the IBA announced prize money for Olympic medalists at the Paris Games.

BFI’s Tactical Decision

BFI president Ajay Singh stated that India had been in dialogue with the WB for a while, mindful of the IOC’s position on the IBA and its members. He highlighted the IOC’s statement, emphasizing that the BFI’s decision was tactical, keeping the boxers’ benefits in mind.

WB’s Goals and India’s Pivotal Role

The WB, formed last year to keep boxing as part of the Olympic program, aims to reinstate the sport as soon as possible for the Los Angeles Games. Singh expressed India’s commitment to playing a leading role in setting up the Asian Confederation of the WB and potentially hosting it in New Delhi.

The WB has been in touch with the IOC, especially after the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) ruled against the IBA’s recognition. Boris van de Vorst, the WB chief, emphasized the need to fulfill specific requirements to regain provisional recognition by the end of 2024 and secure boxing’s inclusion in the Olympics by early 2025.

Targeting 50 Members for Olympic Recognition

The WB has set a target of securing 50 member nations to gain provisional recognition for the Olympics. Currently, they have 30 members, and van de Vorst highlighted the importance of developing the sport in Asia with India’s assistance.

Asian Confederation and Central Asian Nations

The BFI chief mentioned that the Asian Confederation would comprise central and south Asian countries. However, the stance of central Asian nations, traditionally seen as close to the IBA, remains to be observed as events unfold in Bangkok.

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