Vijender Singh is not the first Indian boxer to turn ‘professional’. Boxing lovers have heard about the likes of Gurcharan Singh, Rajkumar Sangwan and Venkatesh Devarajan taking the ‘professional boxing’ route. However, it is the timing of Vijender’s move that has set the tongues wagging. The 2016 Rio Olympics is only a year away and Vijender was a potential medal prospect.
So, how big a loss will Vijender’s absence from the amateur ring be for Indian boxing? Indian boxing will surely be poorer with Vijender’s exit from amateur boxing, but looking at the larger picture, one has to look forward and not dwell on the past.
Sandhu, who has been coaching the Indian boxers since 1993, heaped praise on Vijender’s durability.
“He has been boxing since 2000. That is fifteen years of boxing, what more can one expect. Look at his exploits in the ring. He won the country’s Olympic medal in boxing and also won a bronze at the World Championship in 2009. He was world number one in his weight category in 2009,” said the decorated coach. “Two silver medals and one bronze in Commonwealth Games as well one gold medal and one bronze medal in Asian Games – he has won medals in all major tournaments, sustained three Commonwealth Games, two Asian Games and two Olympics, which is not easy for a boxer,” he continued.
“Look, we have to give him a big pat on his back for his contribution for Indian boxing and also have to look forward. There are quite a few talented boxers, who are capable of doing well on the world stage,” he said.
“Vikas Krishnan Yadav is now boxing in the middleweight category – a category Vijender used to fight. He won the gold at the 2010 Asiad as well as a bronze at the 2014 Asiad and is an exciting prospect. I’m expecting great things from him.”
Clearly, the road ahead for Indian boxing minus Vijender will not be easy, but one can count on the current crop of talented boxers to pull their weight not just in the 2015 AIBA World Championship as well as in the 2016 Rio Olympics among other tourneys.