Vijender Singh Feels it Was the Right Time to Turn Professional
Without doubt the biggest name in Indian boxing after he became the first to bag an Olympic and World Championship medal, the 29-year-old signed a multi-year agreement with Queensberry Promotions in London today that will see the middleweight fight a minimum of six times in the first year.
All set for the tougher but more lucrative professional circuit, star Indian boxer Vijender Singh on Monday said he has no regrets about quitting amateur boxing just one year before the Olympics as it was the "right time" to do so.('One Less Medal Prospect in Rio')
Without doubt the biggest name in Indian boxing after he became the first to bag an Olympic and World Championship medal, the 29-year-old signed a multi-year agreement with Queensberry Promotions in London today that will see the middleweight fight a minimum of six times in the first year.('Decision Shocking')
"I came here (London) to train basically but the promoters, the trainers and the facilities here were so impressive that I decided that it was the right time to take the professional plunge," Vijender told PTI from London.(Vijender Will Miss Rio Olympics)
"I really liked the set up here and had a chat with my wife (Archana) about going professional. She said 'why not' and that was it. Professional was always on my mind and I felt that these promoters were just perfect for me," he said.
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) rules on boxers joining professional leagues other than the ones promoted by AIBA clearly state that they become ineligible for amateur competitions.
"It's not as if I won't be representing the country anymore. I would be doing that but on a different platform," he said.
The strapping six-footer is not the first Indian boxer to go professional but is the biggest star that the country has produced.
Asked why he chose to ignore the professional leagues run by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) which would have kept him eligible for Olympic participation, Vijender said, "The set up here is much better."
"I don't think we have the infrastructure or the support to be serious contenders in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) or the AIBA Professional Boxing (APB)."
"Professional boxing requires a whole new kind of approach. The infrastructure, coaching and medical facilities are extremely different from amateur and that's why I thought signing up with Queensberry was a better idea," he explained.
Speaking about his deal, Vijender said he would be making his pro debut in September-October but the exact schedule and the name of his opponent is yet to be fixed.
"Right now I am just training and that too for hours at a stretch. My workout starts at 9 in the morning and I train till 4 in the evening. It leaves me drained but I am thoroughly enjoying the experience," said the Haryana lad.
Vijender said although it is the start of a new journey for him, he would miss his colleagues and seniors from the amateur circuit.
"I would definitely miss my sparring partners and national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu. They have been my strength and I thank them for everything. But I felt it was time to move on to something new. As for Indian boxing, I am always there whenever I am needed. In fact, I will be in the stands to cheer the team at the Olympics next year," he said.
"But at the same time, I feel India should now explore professional boxing and develop infrastructure for it," he added.