New Delhi: India will host its first ever major boxing tournament for elite men, the 1st India Open International Boxing Tournament, informed a press release on Friday.
The first India Open International Boxing Tournament for elite men and women will be held in New Delhi from January 28 to February 1, taking the sport to the next level, it said.
Boxing Federation of India President Ajay Singh revealed this during the felicitation ceremony of Indian pugilists, who won medals in the AIBA Youth Women’s World Championships in Guwahati last month.
“This is the first time that BFI is hosting an elite event of this stature and magnitude,” Singh said.
“When I took over as president I had promised to bring many world-class tournaments to the country. We have already hosted the AIBA Youth Women’s World Championship and now we are ready for the Indian Open. We are seen as one of the boxing powerhouses in the world now,” he added.
The BFI President presented the five gold medal winners in the Youth Championships cheques worth Rs 2 lakh each, on behalf of Spice Jet Pvt Ltd.
The two bronze medal winners were given Rs 50,000 each. World Championship bronze medalist Gaurav Bidhuri was also felicitated during the ceremony and handed a cheque for Rs 2 lakh.
Singh also divulged that for the first time in the history of the sport, India will field a team in the upcoming edition of World Series Boxing, AIBA’s professional league. The team will be fully supported and sponsored by BFI.
Appreciating the efforts of Rafaelle Bergamasco, who helped India finish with its best ever haul of seven medals (5 golds and 2 bronze) in the Youth Women’s World Championship, the federation has decided to elevate him as the overall High Performance Director of the Women’s division including the elite women.
“He has done a tremendous job with the youth squad. We are very confident that he will do wonders with the elite squad as well. And also these young boxers will form the core team in the future and it make all the more sense he is there with these boxers when they graduate to the next level,” Singh explained.
Union minster of youth affairs and sports (MYA&S) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who was also present at the event, lauded the efforts of BFI and encouraged the boxers to continue their good work and have faith in themselves.
“I would like to congratulate all the boxers for their efforts and making the country proud. I would like to urge the boxers to believe they are the best and can beat anybody in the world,” Rathore said.
During the event, he also announced the cash rewards that the boxers are eligible to receive under the MYA&S. The gold medallists of Youth World Championships will receive a cash prize of INR 6.70 lakh, while the bronze medallist are entitled to receive INR 2.70 lakh. Gaurav will be getting INR 8 lakh for his feat at the World Championships.