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After Vijender Singh, WBA head honcho aims to progress pro boxing in India

Sudhir Bose
778   //    21 Dec 2015, 18:28 IST

Vijender Singh won his third straight pro bout last Saturday
Vijender Singh won his third straight pro bout last Saturday

One of professional boxing’s luminaries – WBA President Geroldo Jesus Mendoza will step on Indian shores in March or April next year. The WBA is one of the four major professional boxing organisations, along with the WBO, WBF and IBF.

Mendoza’s visit is directed towards implementing a programme for the progression of the sport in the country. His decision to visit India comes in the wake of Indian Boxing Council President Brig.(Retd) PK Muralidharan’s visit to the WBA’s 94th Annual Convention at Panam City recently.

"We want to take the WBA franchise to India. We can help kids use the sport as a vehicle to improve their lives. India matches perfectly with our strategy of going worldwide with boxing”, said Mendoza after interacting with Raja.

Geroldo’s visit will be the first by the head of a major professional boxing body. Besides him, WBA Director Stanley Christodoulou will visit India to conduct a seminar to enhance the skills of IBC referees and judges to WBA standards.

A veteran referee, Christodoulou has mediated 240 World Title fights. He was the first to referee world title fights in all 17 weight categories and the third man to referee 100 World Title fights. He will be accompanied by John Fleming, a neurologist who is a member of the WBA Medical Advisor Board.

The Supervisor’s training will be overseen by WBA International Coordinator Marianna Borissova, along with Christodoulou and Fleming. The seminar is slated for January. Needless to say, this is the most interest shown by a major pro boxing organisation in India and will hopefully bring more of the spotlight on Indian boxers, and spur the Indian Boxing Council to take steps in this direction.

Brig. Raja has stated that January will see IBC’s first professional fight card, and the event will be just a few days after the seminar, which will take place in New Delhi.

Said Raja of his experience, “The 94th WBA Annual Convention at Panama City was a real eye-opener for me on many counts. Although I have attended many International Boxing General Assemblys in Amateur Boxing in the last three decades, this was the first time that I saw wholehearted participation of all stake holders discussing threadbare various pros and cons of all subjects connected with Pro Boxing.”