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LZ Promotion is all set to bring the might of professional boxing to India with their ‘India Unleashed ’ May 1 fight night in Jalandhar. Professional boxing, which has won hearts all over the world, is yet to see light in India. With a mind-set of improving the lives of Indian boxers, Parm Goraya, has a vision of making it big with the planned fight nights.

‘India Unleashed’, an event sanctioned by the Indian Boxing Commission (IBC), Goraya wants to rope in changes with USA styled boxing format and help ring in the changes for professional boxing in India.

Goraya – a second generation British Indian — is a registered promoter with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). With strong connects in World Boxing Council (WBC) and International Boxing Federation (IBF), Goraya knows what it takes to make a finished boxer, grooming them right from grassroots.

“Definitely there is huge potential for pro boxing in India. It just needs a structured ecosystem and an approach that has the quality to be called fight nights. The ‘India Unleashed’ fight night is our effort and a step in the right direction to make pro-boxing a hit. I’m sure ‘India Unleashed’ will set a benchmark and contribute to the development of boxers in the country. My plan is to bring in more such fights and initiate a professional Indian circuit which guarantees quality fights,” Goraya, CEO of LZ Promotions, said during the formal launch press conference on Friday.

The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star Dalip Singh, also popularly known as “The Great Khali”, has extended his support to Goraya and his efforts to streamline the professional boxing scene in India. The first of the fight nights will be held at Khali’s Academy in Jalandhar.

The ‘India Unleashed’ fight night will comprise of 10 fight cards that will include top-20 talents scouted and picked through the country. The star attractions for the night are going to be Pawan Goyat, Chandni Mehra (featherweight) and Suman Kumari (lightweight). Amidst the three, Goyat will be gunning for a title shot. 

At the invitation of the Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, AIBA President Umar Kremlev visited the Emirate of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates. The development of boxing in the Middle East and in the Emirate of Fujairah was discussed during the meeting.

Boxing is actively developing in the region based on the full support of the local leadership. During the recent time, there has been built a modern sports infrastructure thanks to the personal involvement of the Crown Prince. All represented conditions allow hosting big boxing tournaments and championships at the highest level.

Two leaders agreed to organize the annual international tournament for the AIBA member countries in Fujairah. It was set that the first test boxing tournament will already take place in May 2021.

‘I am grateful for a productive meeting and new perspectives for boxing in the Middle East. Sports events will provide a stream of tourism. It will be convenient for athletes to fly here due to good visa conditions. With the personal support of Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, we will popularize our sport among young people, more champions will appear,’ Kremlev claimed.

‘We want to raise our champions here in our Emirate. We are going to make a big boxing center, a boxing academy, to include boxing in school and university programs. Boxing is a discipline that teaches to be a patriot of the country. Together with the AIBA leadership, we are going to organize big boxing tournaments here to popularize boxing, attract investments and give everyone the opportunity to become a star,’ the Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi said.

During the visit was also agreed to hold boxing camps in the Emirates of Fujairah.

Undefeated professional boxing star Vijender Singh is set to make his return to the ring on March 19 and this time he will be exchanging fists in Vegas-style boxing on the Majestic Pride Casino Ship in Goa. 

The first-of-its-kind fight will be held on the rooftop deck of the Majestic Pride Casino Ship – who have been roped in as the venue partner.  

The Majestic Pride is a lively ship docked in the Mandovi River in Panaji, Goa that takes the freshness of gaming and the exhilaration of entertainment to a whole new level. The ship also offers some stunning view of horizon of the golden land and the turquoise river. 

The bout goes beyond the traditional norms of a regular professional match and offers viewers the glitz and glamour of Vegas-style boxing event. The announcement of Vijender’s opponent will be made soon. 

Commenting on his fight Vijender Singh said: “I am really excited to return to the ring. It excites me more to have my fight set-up on a ship. It is something that has never happened before in India and I am glad to be part of this unique professional match. I am pumped up and eager as ever to enter the ring again and have been training hard to keep myself fit for the bout.” 

IOS has been instrumental in bringing professional boxing in India and has successfully conducted four fights, including two in New Delhi, one in Mumbai and Jaipur each. Now, Neerav Tomar, promoter IOS Boxing Promotions, plans to deliver a unique sporting event for boxing fans in the country. 

On Vijender’s upcoming bout, Neerav said, “This will be a great opportunity for the Indian fans to witness a unique sporting event being organised locally. This whole year gave us ample time to invest our thoughts on doing something different this time and increasing the level of professional boxing in India. A boxing match on a ship is the perfect amalgamation of the intensity of boxing and razzmatazz of the entertaining casino. We hope all the fans watching or present at the venue will thoroughly enjoy the event.” 

Speaking about the event, Rahul Khetrapal, Director, Majestic Pride Group of Hotels & Casinos said, “We are proud to be hosting this event at our casino. It is the first time ever that a fight night is being held in a casino in Goa, and we are pleased to be the trailblazer in this arena. Moreover, since the fight also marks Vijender Singh’s return to boxing after a sabbatical, it is bound to be even more spectacular and grand.” 

Deepak Kumar

2019 Asian Games silver medallist Deepak Kumar (52kg) had to be content with the silver medal after losing the final face-off in a split decision against two times European Champion and Bulgaria’s Daniel Asenov in the men’s fly weight final bout at the 72nd Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria on Saturday.

Deepak, who has been in terrific form as evidenced by his scintillating 4-1 victory against the reigning Olympic champion and World Champion, Shakhobidin Zoirov from Uzbekistan in the semis on Friday fell short in the final against the determined local boy Daniel Asenov, who won the bout 3-2.

Deepak started with a cautious approach and was exposed to some solid punches from his opponent in the first round. The boxer from Hisar looked to improve and up his attack and gave his all in the second round with some decisive punches landing on the opponent’s face. While Deepak showed controlled aggression, despite that Asenov held his ground.

An assertive and steady Deepak though put his all in the final round but the 2019 European Games silver medallist Daniel Asenov landed some clear punches in the dying minutes to win the bout 3-2 in a really close encounter.

“It is disappointing that I could not win the gold but these last few days have been nothing short of a dream come true. I was determined to make a mark in this tournament especially when I got an opportunity to play against a Champion opponent like Shakhobidin Zoirov in the semis. I am very happy that I could come out a winner. Though a lot of work still needs to be done and I will be focusing on it along with my coaches as I go return to India,” Deepak added.

This silver medal is also the 23-year-old Deepak’s maiden medal from this prestigious and Europe’s oldest tournament. He lost here in the first round last year.

Naveen Boora (69kg) was the other Indian to win a medal in the tournament as he ended his campaign with a Bronze medal in his first International outing for India.

The next AIBA Continental Forum for Europe will be held online on February 27. ASOIF President Francesco Ricci Bitti will participate in the event and make his presentation: Governance in Sport Organizations. 

‘The European continent is the leader in boxing development. To be the front runner is a huge responsibility to the whole world. I am positive that Europe will share its experience with other countries, and not only will the continent continue its progress but become a platform for global boxing development,’ AIBA President Umar Kremlev claimed. 

Europe is preparing to host two major competitions in 2021 – AIBA Youth Men’s and Women’s World Boxing Championships in Kielce, Poland and AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. 

‘The first two AIBA World Championships are to be hosted by Europe after the pandemic. The continent has succeeded in hosting international tournaments during these challenging times, and I am sure that the major tournaments will be held in the best possible way and all the necessary safety measures will be taken,’ added AIBA President.  

AIBA celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. 

‘This is an important date in our calendar. For 75 years, AIBA has been developing the sport of boxing worldwide, aiding our athletes, coaches and officials. We have reached this milestone with a strong desire to reform AIBA and make it great again. I am sure that we are on the right track,’ he concluded.

2019 ASBC Youth Asian Boxing Championship silver medallist Ankit Narwal (64kg) started his campaign  with a convincing win to enter the Quarter-finals of the 30th Adriatic Pearl Youth Men and Women Boxing Championship in Budva, Montenegro on Wednesday.

Haryana Boy Ankit, who has won three successive Gold Medals at Khelo India Games displayed his brilliant attacking prowess and started with a flurry of punches from the start to register a resounding 5-0 win over Uzbekistan’s Lazizbel Fattoev and moved to the quarter-finals where he will face Ukraine’s Ratmir Turchaninov.

It wasn’t a flawless day for India though as Meitei Sanjarmbam (56kg) and Vishal (7kg) lost their pre-quarterfinal bouts against Ukraine’s Dmytro Todorov and Ukraine’s Nurisiom Ismoilov respectively.

Later tonight, 7 Indian boxers will be looking to secure a podium finish when they enter the ring for their Quarter-final bouts. 2018 Best Asian Women’s Junior Boxer Arundhati Choudhary (69kg) will be looking to start her campaign with a win, when she faces Finland’s Evelina Taimi, late on Thursday night.

Other Women boxers in the quarters and in fray for the medal are Babyrojisana Chanu (51kg) and Vinka (60kg). Meanwhile, 4 Men Boxers, Arambam Naoba Singh (52kg), Sumit (69kg), Vishal Gupta (91kg), Jugnoo (91+ kg) will be in contention for Bronze Medal tonight.

The 30th edition of the Adriatic Pearl Youth Tournament will go on till February 22. And with the presence of strong competition from twelve countries including boxing powerhouses such as Russia and Ukraine, the upcoming tournament will provide a good opportunity for Indian youth boxers to get into much-needed match practice ahead of the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships which is scheduled in Poland from April 10-24.

Rising Indian pugilists Ankit Narwal and T Sanamacha Chanu are among the key attractions as 19 Indian boxers are all set to begin their campaign at the 30th Adriatic Pearl Youth Men and Women Boxing Championship starting from today in Budva, Montenegro. This is first-time since the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian youth team is participating at any international tournament.

Haryana boy Ankit, who will be seen competing in the 64kg category, has emerged as India’s biggest hope for future with his brilliant performances in the youth circuit in the recent years including three successive gold medals at the Khelo India Games and Silver medal at the 2019 ASBC Youth Asian Boxing Championship held in Mongolia.

Priyanshu Dabas (49kg), Naoba Singh Arambam (52kg), Sanjarambam Yaiphaba Meitei (56kg), Akash Ramesh Gorkha (60kg), Sumit (69kg), Vishal (75kg), Vishal Gupta (91kg) and Jugnoo (+91kg) are the other 8 Indian boxers to participate in the men’s category.

While the 2019 ASBC Asian Women Boxing Championships gold medallist T Sanamacha will lead women’s charge for India. The Manipuri girl, who trains at the MC Mary Kom Academy and has been highly impressive in the recent years will be a strong contender for the title in the 75kg category.

The girl’s team consist of Vinka (60kg), who also won gold at the 2019 ASBC Asian Women Boxing Championships. 2019 Asian Junior Girls Champion Alfiya Pathan (+81kg), Gitika (48kg), Naorem Babyrojisana Chanu (51kg), Neha (54kg), Preeti (57kg), Lucky Rana (64kg), Arundhati Choudhary (69kg) and Raj Sahiba (81kg) are the other 9 participants in the tournament.

The 30th edition of the Adriatic Pearl Youth Tournament, which is starting late in the night today, will go on till February 22. And with the presence of strong competition from thirteen countries including boxing powerhouses such as Russia and Ukraine, the upcoming tournament will provide a good opportunity for Indian youth boxers to get into much-needed match practice ahead of the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships which is scheduled in Poland from April 10-24.

AIBA President Umar Kremlev came for an official visit to Africa to take part in the AIBA Virtual Forum in Nairobi, Kenya. 

Kremlev met with representatives of the Ministry of Sports of Kenya, National Olympic Committee of Kenya and the President of Kenyan Boxing Federation Anthony Otieno Ombok, as well as with African Boxing Confederation (AFBC) President Dr Mohamed Moustahsane who supported boxing development ideas. 

‘I am really happy to be in Africa, on the continent which has great potential for boxing development. There are a lot of talented boxers here, and we need to create the proper conditions for them to ensure they can show their best results. AIBA will provide help and support. All AIBA countries are important for us, and boxing development everywhere is our priority,’ Kremlev claimed.  

‘Africa has a unique history of boxing, there were 8 Olympic champions and 4 world champions on the continent. I am confident that African boxers can perform even better. We will do everything possible to ensure they can show their best at the international level,’ AIBA President said in a statement.

‘I am very pleased with the enthusiasm and dedication of Kenyan Boxing Federation’s work. The support of the national federation is very important for boxers, and they are not left alone here. In turn, AIBA will help the development of boxing in the country,’ Kremlev concluded.

Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Sports of Kenya Joe Okudo said that they had a good discussion on the sports development. 

‘We had a good discussion of the development of boxing in the country and on the continent. We talked about the possibility of opening an international boxing gym in the country, so that not only athletes could train, but also we can organize education programs for referees and judges, for coaches, cutmen and ringside doctors’ said Okudo.

The AIBA President added that on Sunday he will go to see the site for the construction of the future boxing gym.

‘Tomorrow we will see the land where the boxing academy is to be built. We will make a plan for the development of the sport in the country to make sure boxing becomes the number one sport in Kenya. The next time I come to the country, the gym will already be opened. We also will help Kenyan boxers with necessary equipment. We plan to hold one of the tournaments in Kenya, which will unite all Africa. In addition to medals, boxers will receive financial rewards on it,’ said the AIBA President.

Having worked extensively with an ‘athlete-first’ approach while developing Indian boxing during his first tenure from 2016 to 2020, Ajay Singh has been elected as the President of Boxing Federation of India (BFI) for the second consecutive term on Wednesday.

During the general elections held in the city hotel here in Gurugram today, Ajay Singh defeated challenger Ashish Shelar by a margin of 10 votes as he won 37-27 in the final counting.

“I thank all my colleagues and State Member Units for their support and belief in me and the team. I am happy that BFI has reposed faith in me. I hope to live up to the expectations and continue to take boxing to greater heights, said Ajay Singh after the elections.

“It is great credit to all of us that this election was conducted so peacefully. We are one family, we will work towards glory of our sport,” Singh further added.

Hemanta Kumar Kalita secured 39 votes against CV Raje (25) to join Ajay Singh as Secretary General while Digvijay  Singh secured a post of Treasurer with 33 votes against Anil Mishra (30). The elections took place in the presence of AIBA and IOA observers Yury Zaystsev and Rakesh Gupta.

Indian boxing has seen an exponential rise with the country’s boxers producing medal-winning performances consistently, including over 630 medals, in the last four years. India emerged as Top-10 in the world boxing ranking and is considered a global powerhouse. India has also secured an unprecedented nine quota places for the 2021 Olympic Games and few more are expected from the World Qualifiers which is set to take place in Paris in May.

“Organising the sub-junior championships will be one of our main priorities. Also as you know, in 2024 Olympics it is expected that boxing representations for men and women will be at par, and with Indian women traditionally doing well, we will be focusing to have more women boxers and give them opportunity. It’s very important to also have an equal gender role in the administrative and support staff. We want to encourage more participation of women in every sphere,” he added.

While addressing the media over a virtual press conference, Ajay Singh thanked AIBA for all the support in the last four years and also thanked AIBA President Umar Kremlev for sending an observer in such a short time and said will be looking forward to strengthening the relations further.