Indian pugilists were the surprise package of the year gone by,says International Boxing Association (AIBA) President Ching-Kuo Wu who foresees them giving Cuba and Russia a serious run for their money in the lighter weight divisions.
“I believe India obviously proved to all parties that they were the surprise package of the year and this bodes well,not only for Indian boxing but international boxing all round,” Wu said from AIBA headquarters in Lausanne,Switzerland.
“If India shows the same amount of progress they have shown in the past few years and continues to develop there is no reason why it can not push the stronger nations,particularly in the lighter weight divisions,” he added.
The AIBA chief took the occasion to laud the likes of Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh (75kg) and World Cup bronze winners Akhil Kumar (54kg) and Jitender Kumar (51kg) and four-time women’s world champion M C Mary Kom.
Wu said Indian boxing has to build on last year’s success and start giving good results in the heavier categories (light heavy 81kg onwards) as well to be counted among the best in the world.
“…despite India’s rapid rise in recent years,one has to keep in mind that the strongest nations in the world of boxing have strength and depth across all weight divisions and this is an incredible achievement and not to be taken lightly,” he explained.
“While India is certainly producing excellent results,there is still a lot of work to do,especially in the heavier weight divisions but these sort of challenges are the reason why we participate in sport,” he pointed out.
Vijender’s bronze in Beijing opened the country’s Olympic account in boxing last year and as they start gearing up for London 2012,Wu said Indian boxers have shown the potential but it is too early to say exactly how well they would do.
“The AIBA World Championships aside,the Olympic Games is the toughest boxing competition in the world…it is so difficult to predict who is the best prepared,who is in the best state of mind and consequently who will win an Olympic medal? Who would have thought that Cuba would have failed to stand on the top dais last year in Beijing?
“Boxing is one of the sports where two athletes enter the ring with a clean slate — all history is forgotten and this is what adds to its appeal. While we all hope India,like all nations,compete successfully in London,there is a long way to go between now and then so it is very hard to predict their future Olympic results. In saying that,with the current coaching structure obtaining such impressive results,there is no reason why they cannot improve,” he said.
AIBA is all set to unveil an inter-continental World Series of Boxing next year to be competed in the format of five rounds of three minutes each.
The idea was discussed at a meeting in China a couple of weeks ago and Wu said a concrete plan would come up after AIBA’s Executive Committee meet in February.
“An AIBA Executive Committee meeting will take place in Milan,Italy from February 16-18 at which time we will be announcing more news on this exciting new project,” he said.