When the Indian boxers returned empty handed from the London Olympics,with four of them having come within a win of a medal,many had blamed the judges and the boxers lack of awareness about the scoring pattern in London. A year later,the question still remains: are they missing a trick?
The answer perhaps will be found on having a look at the semifinalists at the World Championship,which saw five Indian boxers exit at the quarters. Twenty four of the 40 boxers who made the last four have participated in the world body AIBAs flagship semi-professional event,World Series of Boxing,and some will also feature in the AIBA Professional league starting next year. The WSB is in its fourth season and with boxers fighting five-round bouts,they are well adapted to the current scoring system. With the AIBA now judging bouts on the basis of rounds won,the format suits the WSB and APB boxers.
The Indian boxers,meanwhile,retain the mindset of scoring points. The need in the new format is to use straight punches to dominate a round. All the boxers except Satish,who was injured,failed to win a single round in the quarters at the Worlds,losing their bouts by a 3-0 margin.
Vijender Singhs refusal to sign for WSB in 2010 meant that Videocon pulled out of owning the Indian franchise. New owner Transtadia pulled out after two unsuccessful seasons.
Early this year,five Indian boxers were offered APB contracts but for various reasons turned them down. With the Indian team competing in CWG and Asian Games apart from the continental championships before the 2016 Rio Olympics,they will not get a chance to compete against any of the 24 aforementioned semifinalists before the 2015 Worlds or Rio.
None of the five Indians who reached the quarters had faced their opponents before and are not expected to face them in the next two years.
One can imagine the amount of confidence that someone like Sumit Sangwan might gain if he were able to compete against two-time Olympic medallist Clemente Russo of Italy in WSB or APB. He wont,however,get that opportunity.
Nitin is a principal correspondent based in Chandigarh