New Delhi:Some splendid performances by the Indian boxers in the Beijing Olympics gave a much needed boost to boxing and the boxers in the country. While bronze-winner Vijender Singh had everyone go ga-ga over him, Pradeep Singh, another young pugilist from Haryana is aiming for his share of glory.
Pradeep moved to Australia to become a professional boxer because India only recognized amateurs. And when official recognition was granted in 2006 in India, Pradeep knew he was meant for big things.
Now, he stands on the verge of winning one of the most prestigious world titles ever won by an Indian.
Come Friday and Pradeep will take a shot at winning the World Boxing Organization's light middleweight title for all of Asia and Australia. If he wins then he could mount a challenge for the world title.
"I've got one life, one way, one dream, and that is to become the world champion and I just have to do it," said the determined boxer from Sisai, Haryana.
Pradeep has a formidable record. In 15 fights, he's won 14 and drawn just one. He's favoured against his opponent Australian Ryan Waters who has a professional record of 12 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw.
Pradeep hopes that his win can open up new avenues for the Indian boxers who hope to turn professional.
"I want to give a professional world champion to India, so we'll be on top of the world in professional boxing as well as amateur boxing and it will be great for the sport," he said.
However pro boxing is quite different from Olympic boxing where Vijender won his bronze medal. For starters it's more dangerous because it has no protective headgear. The rounds are of 3 minutes each with at least 6 rounds. The scoring system is also different. Fights are not stopped for minor injuries so knockouts are far more common and of course the biggest difference is that pro boxers compete for money.
Pradeep's already the holder of 3 Asian titles of the WBO and the International Boxing Federation. But the 21-year-old, who hails from a family of boxers and wrestlers, clearly believes he's got a date to keep with a larger destiny.