Monday, June 24, 2024

Mary Kom can win at London, says AIBA chief


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MUMBAI: India, with five-time world champion M C Mary Kom in their ranks, stand a good chance of winning a medal in women’s boxing which makes its debut at the London Olympic Games next year, said International Boxing Association (AIBA) president Ching-Kuo Wu.

“India has very good boxers with (good) record. I am sure we would have good boxers representing India. The five time world championship winner Mary Kom is a legend and everybody is saying she has a very good chance of winning at the Olympics,” he said on Thursday.

Wu, in the country to witness the World Series Boxing, said that the demand for women’s boxing is quite high and people are excited to see women boxers competing at the Olympics for the first time.

“For London Olympics women’s boxing matches, the tickets are completely sold out. Everybody is looking forward to see women boxing in Olympics,” he said.

He further said that the AIBA will move into professional boxing space from the current semi-professional category in order to give the pugilists more career chances.

“In 2013 we should have professional boxing that is from amateur to professional. Professional is inevitable. To create an opportunity for boxers to further their career, we must provide them with a chance to compete in professional boxing. It will be launched in spring of 2013,” he added.

Explaining the details of the new format, he said, “There will be International, continental and national categories but boxers have to be of top ranking and only the top 20 will go to the international level. The next 30 will be placed in continental and after 50, they will be in national. They will receive regular salary.”

“They can concentrate on sport without worrying about their livelihood. That is how we will create professional boxing. Also when Olympic Games are there, they can return to Olympics. So we will open the opportunities to boxers to further develop their game.” Ranking India in the top four countries in boxing in Asia, he said, “I think India always is an important country. It can develop boxing very well. India has proved in the last three years and the standard of boxing has come up quickly, obviously because of a big population. I would like to see boxing getting developed further in India. Good boxers can be selected with the WSB (World Series Boxing) launch with the help of Indian boxing federation and the franchisees.”

Wu, who is also the chairman of World Series Boxing, hailed the importance of this AIBA initiative and said, “WSB is very important. WSB is a team competition with professional rules. The end of first season was very successful and will start the next season with new team and fresh franchise. WSB has a very important role to play and this is just the beginning.”

Looking ahead to the London Games, Wu expects Ukraine to rule the roost during the Olympics after being impressed with their performance in the World Championship in Baku, Azerbaijan last month.

“In a sports competition it is very difficult to say who shall be the leader. I can see from last month’s world championship that Ukraine is a strong contender. They won four golds out of 10 categories in the championship. For next year’s Olympics they will have more qualification.

“Then you have Russia, Italy, France, USA, Azerbaijan, China and Kazakhstan. So it will be some good teams. We will wait and see, but (viewing) from the world championship it will be Ukraine,” he said.

When asked how boxing has managed to stay away from dope scams, he said, “The sport of boxing is not like cycling or weightlifting where you need instant strength.” (PTI)


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