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Holyfield to visit India in July

Holyfield to visit India in July

By David Finger

If there is one thing that boxing fans have learned to appreciate about former undisputed heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield it is his ability to set a blistering pace. And it appears that he is taking that level of energy to his new company: Real Deal Sports & Entertainment. Holyfield, who is set to promote his first show on June 24th in Louisville, Kentucky, will follow it up with a trip to India in early July where he is slated to give a series of boxing lessons to local fighters and coaches. He is also scheduled to speak with local boxers at the Amjad Khan Boxing Training Center in New Delhi, one of the more noteworthy boxing gyms in the nation of over one billion people.

Holyfield may also soon be bringing his promotional company to India as Sportstar Live reported that Holyfield is in talks with the Indian Professional Boxing Association (IPBA) to possibly partner up with the organization in the near future.

“We are looking forward to a long partnership,” Amjad Khan, vice-president of the IPBA, told Sportstar Live of his negotiations with Holyfield.

Holyfield appears to have also confirmed he would be travelling to India, tweeting “INDIA here we go!” on his Twitter page after thanking the IPBA for inviting him to the country.

India calling for Evander Holyfield

India calling for Evander Holyfield

Invited by the Indian Professional Boxing Association (IPBA), the American legend will give a few lessons to the Indian boxers and coaches to ensure they are ready for the big stage.

At a time when professional boxing is suddenly sliding downward–with Vijender Singh parting ways with Queensberry and Sarita Devi and Pinki Jangra returning to amateur fold again–Holyfield’s visit could be a major boost.

This could well be a ‘Big Deal’ for Indian boxing! One of the biggest names in the world of professional boxing, Evander Holyfield, is all set to travel to India to promote professional boxing.

The American boxing legend, who quit in 2011, will be in New Delhi in early July to encourage pugilists to pursue professional boxing. Invited by the Indian Professional Boxing Association (IPBA), the American legend will give a few lessons to the Indian Professional boxers and coaches to ensure they are ready for the big stage.

“We had invited him (Holyfield) to join our campaign in India and he readily agreed. It is a big thing if a legend like Holyfield is ready to talk to our Indian boxers,” Amjad Khan, the vice-president of IPBA, told Sportstar on Thursday.

Even the boxing legend took to Twitter to admit that he will be on his way to India soon. “@IPBABoxing Thank you for the invite. India here we go!” Holyfield tweeted. 

Holyfield’s response to IPBA’s invite

During his visit to India, the American will also spend time with the youngsters at the Amjad Khan Boxing Training Centre in New Delhi. In 2015, star boxer Amir Khan too had visited the centre. “This is being done to spread the game among the masses,” Khan said.

At a time when professional boxing is suddenly sliding downward–with Vijender Singh parting ways with Queensberry and Sarita Devi and Pinki Jangra returning to amateur fold again–Holyfield’s visit could be a major boost.  “This will be a big thing for the Indian boxers as they would be able to learn a thing or two from the legendary boxer. We all are looking forward to it,” Khan, also a former boxer, added.

After quitting boxing six years ago, the former four-time heavyweight world title holder would also begin his stint as a boxing promoter on June 24, when his newly-floated company, Real Deal Sports and Entertainment, will put its first card at Kentucky’s Freedom Hall.

It is also learnt that the IPBA is in talks with the boxing legend for a possible tie-up plan with his promoting company. “We are looking forward to a long partnership,” said Khan, refusing to reveal further details.

28th Annual WBO Convention 2015 – Orlando, FL, USA

WBO poised to make moves in India in 2016

Dear Friends,

I have no words to express the joy that I felt when I was introduced during the 28th WBO Convention at Orlando, Florida as the sole representative from India and South Asia representing Indian Professional Boxing Association – IPBA.

The resounding applause and the subsequent warm welcome that I received still reverberates in my ears and speaks volumes for the respect that India commands at such forums.

It gives me immense pleasure to not only share this joy but also share with you my article that has been published in the United States.

Shahe Ali

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FIGHTNEWS.COM / BOXING NEWS / OCTOBER 30TH, 2015

28th Annual WBO Convention 2015 - Indian Professional Boxing Association (IPBA)

By David Finger

Although all eyes in boxing were on Orlando, Florida this week as the World Boxing Organization held its 28th annual convention, one story jumped out during the convention: the imminent emergence of the WBO in what is perhaps the greatest untapped market in boxing. A new face that created the most excitement on the opening day as Mr. Shahe Ali, President of the Indian Professional Boxing Association (IPBA) was in attendance representing India and South Asia. After being introduced to the President of the WBO, he received a warm welcome from the members in attendance. Mr. Ali has expressed a desire to see professional boxing finally make its mark in India, one of the most lucrative and untapped markets for the sport. Mr. Ali expressed his desire to not only promote professional boxing in India, but to also see the WBO grow in India as well. He reiterated that the values of the IPBA, courage, determination, respect, and a passion for boxing, motivated him to come to Orlando to discuss his plans for the sport of boxing in India He also discussed his plans to host a WBO world title fight as early as next year in India, a move that would be a historic event for the sport of boxing. So far only one professional fight card has taken place in India. 

“Our main aim it to promote and establish professional boxing in India,” Mr. Ali said, “We want the entire nation to fall in love with the sport.”

Although Mr. Ali expressed his view that boxing remains “the world’s second most played sport” he noted that, as of yet it does not command a significant fan following in India. However, he remains confident that the IPBA could soon change that.

“India has a huge population and we have great amateurs,” Mr. Ali said. “But they don’t have the opportunity (to fight professional).”

Although Mr. Ali has expressed a desire to work with all sanctioning bodies, including the WBA, WBC, and IBF, he was excited to hear of some of the plans set forth by the WBO. WBO member Danny Leigh expressed a desire to see professional boxing brought up correctly. He stressed that with the help of Mr. Leigh and WBO Vice President Leon Panoncillo, the Professional Boxing Commission of China (which Panoncillo and Leigh helped establish) will work with all parties in India to see that fights are properly sanctioned and that the commission is brought up correctly.

“Eventually they will work with all of the sanctioning bodies,” Mr. Leigh said of the proposed Indian boxing commission. “But right now they are working on the next show in India. Now that we are succeeding in China, we want to transfer that template to India.”

Mr. Leigh expressed a desire to see the Indian boxing commission follow the template set in China and reach a world standard shortly. He also expressed a desire to see a world class main event brought to India, even indicating a desire to see a WBO world title fight hosted there next year. IPBA promoted one card this year in India which was headlined by a WBC regional belt. The fight exceeded all expectations with over 25,000 fans in attendance.

Mr. Ali also envisioned a boxing league not unlike the “League of Fists” in China, where young Indian fighters would take part in a tournament to crown one of them Indian champion. The League of Fists tournament in China has become a popular event in which Chinese fighters are the exclusive participants. Their popularity in China has helped establish boxing in the country and Mr. Ali recognizes that it is a formula that can help establish boxing in India as well.

IPBA plans to promote events beginning with an emphasis on both building up boxing at a grass root level as well as exposing Indian boxing fans to world class international events: to give the young Indian fighters the exposure while also allowing them to emerge as not only domestic talents, but international talents.

Their aim and endeavor is to bring the sport of boxing in India to be at a level on par with other sports, so that the athletes get the best facilities and opportunities and are able to improve their standard of life.

Mr. Ali personally thanked WBO President Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcarcel, WBO Vice President for Asia-Pacific Leon Panoncillo, and WBO member Danny Leigh for their efforts to bring professional boxing to India.

Their aim and endeavor is to bring the sport of boxing in India to be at a level on par with other sports, so that the athletes get the best facilities and opportunities and are able to improve their standard of life.

Mr. Ali personally thanked WBO President Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcarcel, WBO Vice President for Asia-Pacific Leon Panoncillo, and WBO member Danny Leigh for their efforts to bring professional boxing to India.