Pro boxers can compete in domestic amateur events: BFI

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NEW DELHI: The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) will henceforth allow professional boxers to compete in amateur tournaments sanctioned by it, a move opens the doors for boxers who are plying their trade in the pro circuit to compete in the amateur events held in the country even at the departmental level.

The decision was taken at a BFI executive committee meeting on Thursday and is applicable with immediate effect.

“In the recently concluded executive committee meeting, it was discussed and decided that since the International Boxing Association (AIBA) is allowing such relaxations, BFI, too, allows similar relaxations for such boxers to participate in the State/National or Inter-Department tournaments,” BFI secretary general Jay Kowli stated in a letter to all member states and units accessed by PTI.

“This decision will be applicable with immediate effect and all boxers who have played professionally in the past can seek relief under this note,” the letter further states.

It also states that the concession will not be extended to boxers who are participating in tournaments organised by “unauthorised” bodies.

According to PTI, the reference to “unauthorised” bodies is meant for boxers who registered to compete in events organised by the terminated Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF), which unsuccessfully tried to get the status of official body to run the sport in the country. “Such boxers will still need to apply to BFI through their respective BFI Member Unit/s for a ‘No Objection Certificate’,” the letter stated.

AIBA allowed professional boxers to compete in the Olympics months before the 2016 edition in Rio de Janeiro and even organised a qualifying tournament for them. In India, there was no clarity on the professional boxers’ amateur status until this recent decision, PTI further reports.