Vijender Singh’s Wise Decision                          

There is a wave of disbelief over the decision by Vijender Singh to turn a professional. This handsome pugilist, who won an Olympic bronze in 2008, has shocked the fraternity by signing up for Queensbury Promotion through IOS Sports and Entertainment a few days ago.

India is now deprived of the services of one of the finest punchers in the middleweight class for the Olympics and other amateur competitions.

What is a loss for the nation is a gain for the professional circuit where he is bound to make an impact and gain huge paychecks based on performance.

Vijender is now a victim of the current imbroglio in Indian boxing. Unsure of what his future will be this unpleasant and unwanted schism within the administration, he has chosen a safer option to enlarge his proficiency and future.

Never before has boxing in India been in such a mess as it is now. The factional feuds in the national federation and the constant tussle with the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) have crippled the sport raising grave misgivings now whether the boxers will be allowed to compete under the Indian flag in the next Olympics and other international events.

Things have come to such a pass that the AIBA has appointed an Ad Hoc Committee to supervise the sport in the country, paving the way for a fresh round of exchanges involving the twin factions of the Indian boxing administration and the IOA. In what shape will these problems further afflict the boxers is unclear.

It is really unfortunate that Indian boxing should be in bad focus for such negative reasons when some of the pugilists like Vijender and Mary Kom are attracting worldwide attention. A big chunk of India’s image took a severe beating in the fracas that spoiled the medal ceremony at the last Asian Games involving Saritha Devi, who refused accept the medal.

The subsequent actions of the AIBA caused enormous damage to the country’s establishments, including the IOA. Tragically, the rumblings continue to be in a high pitch.

Against this background, Vijender’s action of moving out of the amateur ambit cannot be contradicted. Here is a case of a boxer’s efficiency all set to go for a toss. If reports are to be believed, a lot of hurdles will consciously be created by the powers-that-be. Already, the Haryana Police, where Vijender is employed viewing the development as misconduct from the standpoint of official rules.
The Olympic medals in boxing have always been the catalyst to prosperity in the professional arena. Floyd Patterson (gold medalist in 1952 at Helsinki) and later Cassius Clay (gold medalist at Rome in 1960) who later became the legendary Muhammad Ali have all graduated from the Olympics showing.

Vijender is also not the first from India to switch over to the professional boxing. Former Railway champion from Chennai, V. Devarajan, opted for this route more than a decade ago. This is what he had to say on the subject. “Pro boxing is about learning to throw explosive punches and build endurance to last five rounds. Fame and money are available for those amateurs able to handle that. You need guts to train hard and courage in alien conditions during away bouts.”

The 29-year Vijender is alive to the demands of being a professional especially in the high voltage sport like boxing. As one deeply distressed by the developments in Indian boxing he is bidding goodbye to his amateur status.

He has made a choice after weighing the pros and cons. He should be allowed to go through the path he has carved. Any sadistic designs to bind him by archaic rules and regulations will only be viewed as an act of pure cussedness.