Once on the ropes, Indian boxing comes out swinging

GOLD COAST, Australia (AFP) – A bullish India celebrated their best boxing performance at a Commonwealth Games and are now targeting more success to rival the best nations at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Top figures in Indian boxing said their exploits on Australia’s Gold Coast were no fluke, even if they surpassed their own expectations in racking up nine medals in the sport.

India pipped hosts Australia to sit second in the boxing medals table with three golds – Mary Kom (light-flyweight), Vikas Krishan (middleweight) and Gaurav Solanki (flyweight).

England, who have poured significant resources into amateur boxing, topped the table with six gold medals.

It was a highly satisfactory ending to a fortnight that started badly for Indian boxing with a warning for breaking the Games’ strict no needle policy after giving a vitamin injection to an unnamed fighter.

From top to bottom, India’s Mary Kom, Vikas Krishan and Gaurav Solanki. – PHOTOS: AFP

All this comes just a few years after Indian boxing reached a nadir when its federation was effectively expelled by the sport’s amateur world governing body, the International Boxing Association (AIBA), over how it elected its officials.

Now back in the international fold as the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), its president Ajay Singh told AFP at the Gold Coast, “Last year a new federation took over and we are trying to ensure that we hold championships in India and have our boxers participate in all international championships.

“We make sure we train our boxers well, make sure we plan their fights well and there’s a great deal of enthusiasm for boxing in India.”

Singh, who has been in the post for 19 months, added boldly, “We expect that in the next two years India will be one of the leading boxing nations in the world.”

So far, so good. At the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealths, India failed to win one gold, underlining the stark improvement since.