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‘Mystery’ body gets the nod from AIBA

New Delhi: Confusion prevailed in the Indian boxing fraternity as the international boxing federation, the AIBA, on Thursday announced it has provisionally approved the application of a body called Boxing India (BI) as the new governing body for the sport in India.

The decision, the world body said, had already been communicated to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president N. Ramachandran.

The announcement, which came late on Thursday evening, left senior officials in the suspended Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) and the IOA surprised, as the AIBA did not specify the names of the office bearers of the new body.

In a statement, the AIBA said: “The international boxing association executive committee has approved the application of Boxing India (The Bout outside the Ring) as provisional new AIBA member for India until ratification by the AIBA congress, following recommendation by the AIBA evaluation committee. The latest AIBA EC decision was officially announced by the AIBA president Dr. Ching Kuo-Wu in his letter to the president of the IOA.”

While some in the suspended IABF felt that it could be a body formed by its former secretary general PK Muralidharan Raja, a senior member of the Raja group was certain a group of Mumbai-based individuals have formed the body.

The Raja group, however, claimed the support of 23 member states in the IABF.

“A group of people in Mumbai had supported AIBA president Kuo-Hu when he floated the idea of World Series Boxing. We are certain that AIBA has handed the reins of Indian boxing over to them. Some senior members of the IABF have also supported the move secretly,” said a former vice-president of the IABF.

IOA joint secretary Rakesh Gupta, who is also the head of the ad hoc committee for boxing, said he had no clue about the AIBA decision. “They are yet to inform us about the developments.”

It may be recalled that the AIBA suspended IABF in December 2012, for “possible manipulations in elections” by the then president Abhay Chautala and then decided to throw India out of the world body in March 2014. After the IOA elections, an ad hoc body was formed to conduct its activities.

AIBA, meanwhile, in a statement said: “The new vision and the initiatives proposed by this organisation (Boxing India) to revive the sport of boxing in the country, in a professional and ethical manner, have convinced AIBA that there would be no better organisation than Boxing India to represent our sport in India.”

The world body had set up an evaluation committee to assess proposals from the various factions within Indian boxing, looking to take the sport forward. It had called for “honest people” to come forward, who would support “the principles of the AIBA in terms of ethics and fairness”.