The BFI made the announcement on Saturday that Santiago Nieva resigned as the High-Performance Director of the Indian men's boxing squad. In 2017, the Swede was named head coach of the Indian national team; the next task for Nieva will be as the new head coach of the Australian boxing squad.
After nine pugilists qualified for Tokyo 2020 under Santiago Nieva's five-year spell with the Indian national team, India sent their largest-ever boxing delegation to any Olympics. At the Tokyo Olympics, Lovlina Borgohain took bronze in the women's 69kg event.
India had won two medals in the 2019 men's boxing world championships under Nieva's leadership, with Amit Panghal taking silver and Manish Kaushik taking bronze. Only Akash Kumar managed to earn a bronze medal at the 2021 edition in Belgrade.
“Goodbye is always difficult but that’s how life works. I have had an amazing five years working along with the Boxing Federation of India and the talented boxers of the nation. I thank BFI for all their support during my time with the Indian team. I believe Indian boxing has great potential and it will continue to grow,” Santiago Nieva said.
“Indian boxing has benefited immensely from Santiago’s presence. He has played an instrumental role in crafting the growth of Indian boxing in the last five years and we thank him for all the efforts and hard work. On behalf of the Indian federation, I personally wish him the best for all his future endeavours,” said BFI president Ajay Singh.
The BFI was allegedly interested in keeping Santiago Nieva on board until the 2024 Olympics in Paris, and his departure will be a major blow to Indian boxing. With Nieva's departure, Indian boxers would be without a foreign coach. Raffaele Bergamasco, the high-performance director for women's boxing, was fired following the Tokyo Olympics.