Vikas Krishan, former World Championships bronze-medallist (75kg), will become the first Indian boxer to compete in the AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) competition when he takes on Uzbekistan's Israil Madrimov in Tashkent on Friday. (AIBA May Allow Pro Boxers in Olympics Soon: Amir Khan)
The 24-year-old Vikas. who is supported by the JSW Sports Excellence Program (SEP), is targeting a quota place for the Olympics in August.
The APB offers 20 quotas for the Olympics split over weight categories. The middleweight category has two quotas for the Rio Olympics with the top-two boxers in the category making the cut for the quadrennial event.
Vikas, ranked sixth in the world in middleweight, recently won a gold medal at the South Asian Games. Vikas' opponent, Madrimov, won the silver medal in the welterweight (69 kg) category at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.
The Indian pugilist will be accompanied by his coach Jagdeep Hooda and left today for Uzbekistan's capital. Vikas was training at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) Patiala under Dharmendra Yadav and chief national coach GS Sandhu.
According to the APB's structure, Vikas will also be able to represent India at the Asian and Oceania qualifiers scheduled to be held from March 23 to April 3. A victory over Madrimov will allow Vikas to move into the next round of the APB whereas a loss will end his campaign, a press release stated.
"Over the last couple of months, it has been difficult to find quality sparring partners and it is important to prepare very well if I have to win a quota for the Rio Olympics. The APB stint will allow me to fight against some challenging opponents and that will ensure that I test myself thoroughly and iron out any flaws in my technique," he said.