Indian boxing is all set to get a massive jolt as the country's franchise in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) is preparing to pull out from the upcoming season due to paucity of funds and administrative hassles.
The Mumbai-based TransStadia, which bought the franchise last year, is likely to announce its decision of calling it quits after just one season in the event, which is a club-based part-professional league with winners in different categories getting direct qualification to the Olympics.
The Mumbai Fighters franchise, which was to start its campaign this season against Dynamo Moscow on November 17, has not even started its camp in Pune to train the boxers.
"They just got fed up with the system which did not support the team one bit," a boxer who was a part of the team, said.
"This year they did not have enough funds also. The budget had shot up and they were not prepared for that," added another pugilist.
None of the boxers who competed for the team last season have been given any official intimation as their contracts had expired for this year. The Fighters were to recruit new boxers for this season.
Interestingly, the Fighters are not the only ones trying to shut shop in WSB as sources said four other countries are also preparing to walk out of the ambitious tournament, which was the International Boxing Association's attempt at competing with the professional leagues.
"TransStadia came with good intentions but they just did not know how to handle something like this. They were willing to do everything to make this venture work but they did not get any cooperation from the federation," a source said.
The federation on its part, claimed ignorance of the pullout and no official came on record to speak on the issue.
National coach G S Sandhu was also caught unawares by the development but feels if true, it is bad news for the sport.
"Participating in the WSB and the AIBA Professional Boxing is very important for the overall development of Indian boxers. We definitely need to compete in these events to excel at the world level because a lot of Olympic quota places are at stake here. If the Indian franchise is withdrawing than I would say it is a huge loss for Indian boxing," he said.
The pullout comes after a disappointing Olympic performance by the country's male boxers who missed out on a medal at the London Games in July-August. India got its first Olympic medal in boxing through Vijender Singh in 2008.