In India, when one talks about sports, the first thing that comes to mind is Cricket. Cricket is practically the religion of almost every Indian from the moment that they are born in the country.
Alongside cricket, there is Football, the global sport that has been embraced by the entire world. And in its popularity lies something very special, as there is a universal acceptance and love of the sport. However, the popularity of Professional Boxing in India is practically non-existent. The number of people who can name a professional boxer off-hand is negligible.
The reason for this is simple. The number of professional boxers who have achieved notable success while representing India is very limited. In fact, only a few boxers have broken through this mold and gone on to box abroad and they have done so at older ages.
When you compare this to the condition of overseas boxers from other countries who have achieved varying levels of success and have become World Champions in professional boxing, it can be seen that all of them are very young.
- Ryan Garcia (Lightweight) Age: 21
- Devin Haney (Lightweight) Age: 20
- Teofimo Lopez (Lightweight) Age: 22
- Vergil Ortiz Jr (Welterweight) Age: 21
- Daniel Dubois (Heavyweight) Age: 22
- Shakur Stevenson (Featherweight) Age: 22
- Edgar Berlanga (Middleweight) Age: 22
The fact is that given the proper conditions in India, with the proper training facilities for the young talented fighters of the country, there is no reason at all for the Indian boxers to not be on this list as well.
However, living in India, the support system for these boxers is often missing and very few actually get encouraged to pursue boxing full-time, given the inherent risk and the perceived lack of opportunities present in the sport.
Mujtaba Kamal's vision for professional boxing in India
Creating a revolution in any sport, especially when it involves shaking up the infrastructure of an entire country, is never really easy. Mujtaba Kamal, while facing this seemingly impossible situation, lacks only one thing, and that is the word impossible in his dictionary.
When it comes to creating a change in the professional boxing scene in the country, Mujtaba Kamal has been acting alone. The initiative is his own and not that of the government. The dream? Seeing an Indian become a professional boxing World Champion.
Working towards that every day with his camp of boxers is something that he has been doing for a long time.
For a while now, Mujtaba Kamal and his team have been working tirelessly in India to build awareness about boxing through Fitness Boxing in India. Many have used this initiative to train and build mental and physical fitness.
In the world of Amateur Boxing, there are two divisions made, Team A and Team B. Team A are the frontline team who go into the event set to compete. Unfortunately for Team B, their main purpose is to be backup for Team A. Although they may have equal abilities, they are often not able to step into the ring, leading to them getting demotivated.
What Mujtaba Kamal has done is to motivate this Team B and give them an opportunity to enroll in the world of professional boxing and earn fame and luxury.
"Potential Indian Boxers with just the right approach will take over and dominate the world of professional boxing."
Professional Boxing as a sport is highly technical, and as any global fan will be able to attest, brings with it an emotion as well. Boxing tournaments in India have been rare and their venues have also not been the best. Mujtaba Kamal has worked on this side of professional boxing as well by organizing shows in Bangalore and Mumbai to increase the exposure.
In the Indian professional boxing scene, something that has to be remembered is the fact that it is extremely important that the fighters have the support that they require. When fans come to support boxers, this could help gain further encouragement required.
One of the major issues is that while Indians are aware of foreign boxers like Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather, Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, and others, the awareness level of boxers in India itself is minimal.
As a result, a career in professional boxing is not enough to support the lives of many who have chosen this sport. This leads to their attention being divided and them not being able to train for fights properly. In the end, this acts like a vicious cycle. If they could break into the professional boxing scene properly, they would not need to have part-time jobs and focus completely on their fighting careers.
In fact, at the highest level, the fight purse which is divided between two fighters can even be enough to set people up for their entire lives, as plenty of brands cash in on the spotlight. If India and Indian fighters are able to break into this professional boxing scene, which is the vision of Mujtaba Kamal, then not only will this change the entire sport in India, it will also help fighters to focus on the livelihood of their choice. As Mujtaba Kamal said, "The rise of Indian Professional Boxing is inevitable."