India will host the 2020 edition of the Asian Boxing Championships, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) announced on Monday.
The national federation president Ajay Singh shared the news with the stakeholders during their review meeting while later taking to Twitter for the public announcement.
It is learnt that the BFI was awarded the hosting rights in February for the event which is scheduled for the November-December window.
Speaking to the Press Trust of India later, the BFI Executive Director R K Sacheti later said that the federation is yet to finalise on the host city, but they remained confident of organising the event at the end of the year.
"It is an extraordinary situation no doubt, but we are all hoping for this to be brought under control by June. Then another three-four months will go into resuming normal activities," Sacheti said.
The Asian Boxing Championships were held as two individual events for men and women before 2019. While India organised the men’s event in 1980 with Mumbai playing the host, the women’s event last came to the India shores in 2003 with Hisar, Haryana hosting the event.
"Bids were sought in January. The formal announcement by the Asian Boxing Confederation will be made once the COVID-19 situation improves a bit," Sacheti said.
A tune-up for Indian boxers
Sacheti also stated that the BFI was expecting the Olympic Boxing Qualifiers, which were forced into suspension following the COVID-19 outbreak, to resume around the same time.
But with the Asian leg of the Olympic qualifiers already done before the global pandemic was declared, the BFI was confident about going ahead with the Asian meet. But a final call on the host city could be taken only once the nation-wide lockdown was lifted.
“If things can start rolling elsewhere, we can also conduct the (Asian) Championship. That's why we haven't zeroed in on a host city right now. That discussion will have to wait until the end of the lockdown,” he added.
Indian pugilists won a total of nine Olympic berths at the Olympic boxing qualifier for Asia/Oceania, meaning India will already be sending it's biggest ever contingent to an Olympics.
The Asian Championships, if slotted well, could prove to be a much-needed tune-up event for the Indian boxers who will be looking at the World qualifiers to seal their berth for the Tokyo Olympics.