The rebel faction in the terminated Indian Amateur Boxing Federation on Thursday got a massive shot in the arm with Olympic and World Championships bronze-medallist Vijender Singh agreeing to be on the athletes commission proposed by the group led by former Secretary General Brigadier (Retd) P.K. Muralidharan Raja.
The rebel group, which claims to have the backing of 23 of the 35 state units on board, is set to approach AIBA after the world body sought applications from "any group of people with passion and love for our sport to submit applications for the establishment of a new National Federation". (Indian Amateur Boxing Federation knocked out by World Boxing Federation)
"The AIBA wants a clean set-up and we can provide that. Having Vijender on board shows that we are keen to provide the transparent and credible alternative that Indian boxing needs desperately," Raja, who is also the group's convener, told PTI.
Vijender, on his part, said he decided to come on board as he felt the group has proven credentials. Brigadier Raja was the Secretary General till 2012. West Bengal Boxing Association chief Asit Banerjee has been named chairman of the group.
"When I was approached by Brigadier Raja to be on the athletes commission of his faction, I readily agreed because I have full faith in this group's ability to lead Indian boxing out of this crisis," Vijender said.
"Indian boxing should have grown by leaps and bounds but instead, we have touched the lowest point. Somebody has to stand up and speak for the sport. I will do whatever I can by being a part of this effort to revive Indian boxing," he added.
"I am an active athlete but I am sure I can contribute to the cause because end of the day, if we want to compete under the national flag, we the boxers also have to stand up."
Earlier, furious with the current logjam in the suspended IABF, the International Boxing Association terminated the body from its fold stating that the current set of office-bearers are "damaging the image, reputation and interest" of the sport.