The Indian challenge at the China Open Boxing Tournament in Guiyang last week resulted in a haul of a silver and four bronze medals. And while each member of the squad was making his seniot international debut in the invitational tournament,coach Jaidev Bisht,who accompanied the boxers,said the haul was an expected one. “It is actually a bit easier to take youngsters on tour. With the seniors,surprisingly,there is a lot more insecurity. They know that there are a lot of expectations on them and so need constant motivation. For the new boxers,however,there is no place to go but up so they are always full of confidence,” he said.
While the tournament was seen as a good exposure tour for what national coach Jaidev Bisht describes as Indian boxing’s third string squad,equally important was the fact that it was India’s first experience with AIBA’s recently reintroduced professional style 10-points-a must scoring pattern. Under the system,a judge must award ten points to at least one fighter after every round (before a deduction if applicable for foul). Most rounds are scored 10-9,with 10 points for the fighter who won the round,and 9 points for the fighter the judge believes lost the round. The score is 10-10 for a draw and a point is dropped for every knockdown.
The system itself isn’t something Bisht was unused to. During his own amateur career in the late 80s and early 90s,this was the system in place before being replaced by computerised one-point-for-one-punch scoring in 1992. “When we boxed in the eighties,we had a similar style of scoring . We started with this scoring and now we are returning to the same system,” says Bisht who headed from Delhi to the national camp in Patiala on Tuesday evening.
However the system was new for much of India’s current batch. “Many of our boxers weren’t even born when the old system was in place so to help them prepare we showed them some videos of old bouts from the 80s,” he says.
As the boxers prepare for the changes,the key difference explains Bisht was adapting the slick style India have developed in the past decade to to one which places equal emphasis on strength. “Ever since computerised scoring was introduced,the key aspect was to land as many punches as possible. So sometimes even glancing shots got counted. Now a fighter has to dominate a round to get the ten points. That means,he has to move well,have strong defence and punch both hard and with accuracy,” he says.
Despite the experience in China,Bisht isn’t sure if the scoring he saw will be the norm for the future. “It’s really hard to tell anything from these competitions. Will judges be more favourable to clear shots,or will a fighter who is more busy but maybe not so accurate do better? China was an invitational competion and as such there isn’t a lot of attention paid to the scoring patterns. In the smaller tournament,every judge has his own version of scoring. If we base our preparations for the Asian Championships on just how the scoring for the China tournament we could be surprised. The real challenge will be at the World Championships in Kazakhstan in October. The pattern the judges use over there will be the one followed strictly after that,” he says.