Free Press Journal

IBC to herald new era in Indian boxing: Vijender Singh


B-DLI, 1608135 - AUGUST 16, 2008 - BEIJING : Vijender Kumar of India reacts after defeating Angkhan Chomphuphuang of Thailand during a men's middleweight 75 kilogram preliminary boxing match at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2008. AP/PTI

Mumbai: India’s Olympic bronze medallist boxer Vijender Singh, who turned professional recently, on Wednesday welcomed the launch of the professional boxing body Indian Boxing Council (IBC).

IBC, launched earlier this month, will promote professional boxing in the country and facilitate pugilists who wish to turn professional in the hope of fat pay cheques. The IBC is conceptualised by former Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) secretary general P.K. Muralidharan Raja and is partnered by IOS boxing promotions.

“It is amazing to have India’s first pro boxing body launched. That is a new beginning I can say. P.K. Muralidharan Raja is an amazing person, very hard working. I worked with him for almost ten years. Pro boxing in India is in good hands,” Vijender said here while training live at a city mall with his England-based trainer Lee Beard.

This body launched close on the heels of the country’s star amateur boxer Vijender’s decision to turn professional, just a year prior to the 2016 Rio Olympics. When asked if he could have waited for another year and represented India in the 2016 Olympics, he said, “I played three Olympics for India and that’s not an easy thing. Now I have got another opportunity to turn pro and I am looking forward to that.”

Vijender signed a multi-year promotional agreement with promoters Queensberry Promotions that will see the talented middleweight fight a minimum of six times in the first year. The 29-year-old boxer will start his training from July 27 in Manchester, England. “Professional boxing is a hard work out. There are numerous techniques, which I am learning with time,” Vijender said.

Speaking on the training schedule, how many hours he would devote for training he said, “It will depend on the particular day, how we go about training and also the schedule. Sometimes on a day we focus on technical, sometimes we will focus on sparring.”

“Currently I am learning the aspects of professional boxing. I was an amateur boxer earlier now I am a pro. I am learning the technique, hold, movement, footwork. Amateur is totally different as it’s all about speed, points, but pro boxing is about hard work and about hard punching,” he added. Beard heaped praise on Vijender terming him as a naturally gifted boxer.

“He is a naturally gifted boxer. He has represented India in three Olympics. If you can’t fight you can’t compete at that international level. I am working on things for him, making Vijender grow, his defence. He already has in him what is needed, we will just add a few more things in him to be professionally perfect,” Beard said. “I think he was picking things up and learning things quickly, specially the defensive and technical aspects.”