This decade started with buzz of India hosting Commonwealth games and ending with discussion of how India will perform at Tokyo Olympics. During this period we saw rise of many athletes, while a few lost in anonymousness. A few federations worked for welfare of their players while many were fighting for power and money.
Journey of Boxing (2010 to 2012)
In 2010 Indian boxing was going through a bright phase as our start Vijender Singh won a medal at Olympics. That inspired a generation to take up boxing and we witnessed a large number of new boxers coming in that time. Vikas Krishnan won Gold in 2010 Asian Games an bronze at 2011 World championship.
We have produced likes of L.Devendro Singh, Shiva Thapa, Manoj Kumar, Vikash Krishanan Yadav in that golden period. In 2012 Olympics our boxers saw some decisions going against them and our male boxers were eluded from an Olympic medal that year. But Mary Kom won bronze and kept boxing in medals at 2012 Olympics.
Reason for revolution in Indian boxing during that time was National boxing coach B.I Fernandez. He stayed in India for two decades (1990 to 2015) and was instrumental in the country taking giant strides in the sports. He received Dronacharya award in 2012 for his contribution. Then he was banned by AIBA for two years for his role in protest at 2014 Asian Games.
Derecognition of Boxing federation
In 2012 boxing federation was rigged with corruption, International Boxing Federation (AIBA) and IOA derecognised Indian Amateur Boxing Federation. Since 2012 AIBF was under radar of AIBA for dubious election and was banned from 2012 to January 2017. That was a big setback for our boxers. They were not getting any funding and had no coach for them due to absence of national body.
This four year ban not only tarnished the image of India globally but also a demotivator for the Indian boxers. During this period Indian boxers were allowed to participate in international events but Indian flag was not allowed. Indian representatives were not permitted to attend the meeting of AIBA. Indian officials were barred from conducting any boxing event under the banner of AIBA.
Our boxer kept shining despite ban
Despite not having a federation our boxers have performed quiet well during this period. Mary Kom was awarded the AIBA legends award for her contribution to boxing. Sonia Lather won the World Championship in 57kg category. Neeraj Goyat and Vijender kept India flag high in pro boxing. All this happened because of grit and talent of our boxers.
Boxing Federation of India recognition
Elections were held under the supervision of AIBA and Sports Ministry. After that BFI got official recognition by Indian Olympic Association and International Boxing Association.
After the recognition Santiago Nieva was recommended by AIBA for the coach position that was left vacant after 2014. He is currently our high performance director. He won bronze medal in Hamburg,Germany. Currently Ali Qamar is women’s boxing chief coach and C.A Kuttappa for men’s boxers.
Performance of Indian Men Boxers in last two years
In 2017, Gaurav Bidhuri became fourth Indian to win a World Championship medal. Indian boxers produced strong performance at Asian games and Commonwealth games in 2018. Amit Panghal won Silver at Commonwealth games and Gold at Asian Games. Vikas Krishan won bronze at Asian Games and Gold at 2018 commonwealth Games.
In 2019 edition of World Championship India achieved its best ever medal haud with 1 Silver and 1 bronze medal. Manish Kaushik also won bronze, while Amit Panghal became first Indian oxers to reach final of World Championship.
Currently we have strong boxing contingent with likes of Amit Panghal, Kavinder Bisth, MD Hassamuddin,Duryodhan Negi, Naman Tanwar, Satish Kumar, Vikas Krishanan. All are gearing up for Tokyo 2020 qualifiers and we can see more medals for India in 2020 Olympics.
Performance of Indian Women Boxers in last two years
In 2018 edition of Women’s World Championship held in New Delhi, India finished in top three after a gap of 12 years. India won 1 gold (Mary Kom 48kg), 1 silver(Sonia Chahal 57kg) and 2 bronze (Simranjit Kaur 64kg and Lovlina Borgohain 69kg) medal. India’s best performance is 8 medals back in 2006 edition which were also hosted in New Delhi.
In 2019 edition of World Championship Indian boxer again won 4 medals which include 1 Silver and 3 Bronze. Debutant Manju Rani won Silver medal in 48kg and became first Indian women to enter final in maiden appearance. Mary Kom, Jamuna Boro and Lovlina Borgohain had to settle for bronze medals.
Future of Indian Boxing
For any sports to grow its junior programme is important and BFI need to make sure our juniors get full exposure. Our boxers are getting best coaching facility and we hope federation will look after our juniors too. With Big Bout started this year our boxers have their own league.
In 2016 future of Indian boxing looked fade and we were afraid that there will be no participation from Indian boxers in 2020 Olympics. But now everything is set in place and our boxers are ready for Tokyo 2020 qualifiers. Our high performance director Santiago Nieva feels our boxers will do something big in 2020 Tokyo Olympics.