Vijender turns professional

Star pugilist says goodbye to Olympic dreams

Vijender turns professional

India’s iconic pugilist Vijender Singh on Monday put an end to his amateur career by turning professional. With this, the 29-year-old ended his stint with the national team, and therefore would no longer compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Vijender, the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist, has signed a multi-year promotional agreement with Queensberry Promotions through IOS Sports and Entertainment, that will see the talented middleweight fight a minimum of six times in the first year. The lucrative deal was signed at a media conference in London on Monday.

 “I’m excited to turn pro and looking forward to the new chapter of my life. I want to train hard and perform for my country at the global level. IOS will be managing my pro boxing career along with Queensbury Promotions with broadcaster BoxNation. My immediate goal will be to work hard and make a good boxing record in the next year or so,” said Vijender.

The boxer was on leave from the ongoing national camp in Patiala to train at Queensberry Promotions, a company owned by Francis Warren.

National coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu said he was taken aback by Vijender’s decision. “I am shocked, he never mentioned that he was going to be a pro. He said he was going to London to train at Queensberry Promotions.

“He could have joined Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur (AIBA) pro-league also. But he is a nice person and I am sure he must have thought over it.  He would be missed,” Sandhu told Deccan Herald.

Vijender was also part of government’s Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme, but had not received the money.

Francis, son of the International Boxing Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren, commented, “I’m very excited to have brought such a talented and determined individual over to the UK and can't wait to see what Vijender is capable of doing in the professional ranks after achieving so much as an amateur,” he said.

“After spending the past week with him in Manchester, there is no doubt in my mind that he has what it takes to be a very successful professional boxer, not only due to his undoubted natural talent, but also due to his drive and focus. He has a clear idea of what he wants to achieve.”

Queensberry has promoted over 40 professional boxers including 20 Champions and boasts of names like Naseem Hamed, Bruno, Tyson Fury, Joe Calzaghe, Steve Collins, Chris Eubank Jr, Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton.

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