With Beijing Olympic medallist Vijender Singh turning professional in October last, and World Championship bronze medallist Vikas Krishan set for the AIBA (International Boxing Association) Pro Boxing (ABP) in Noida on Saturday, the spotlight is firmly on the current crop of Indian boxers.
A fact not widely known is that in the past few years quite a few Indian boxers have fought professional bouts in China, South Korea and Thailand and tasted success.
Among the lesser-known names is Haryana’s Neeraj Goyat, who has fought 11 pro bouts, including four in China and two each in Korea and Thailand.
Goyat, who has an Asian title to his name, has seven wins and two draws. His next pro bout is on June 25 at home against Philippines’ Romeo Jakosalem, who will be fighting for the World Boxing Council Asian welterweight title.
Punjab’s Gurlal Singh, who was out of action for a while because of a shoulder injury, has five wins, all knockouts, in the last two years. He fought his bouts in Thailand.
Commonwealth Games (2010) bronze medallist Dilbag Singh, who made his professional debut last year, has two pro bouts in China and Korea.
“Over the past two years, many Indian boxers have joined the pro circuit and as most of them are national medallists, their performances were good in the early bouts. Indian boxers are in demand in China, Thailand and Korea as there is a culture of professional boxing,” said Goyat, a former Youth Commonwealth Games medallist. “In pro boxing, apart from talent, the way the bout is showcased plays a major role in branding a boxer. I won the Asian title in Delhi, but as there were lot of flaws in presentation, my bout went unnoticed,” he added.
A debutant on the Asian circuit earns between `50,000-1 lakh along with travelling and other expenses, depending on the pro record and success as an amateur.
After a win or two, the money goes up. Established names can command anything between `3-5 lakh in Asia.
With no national championships held in the last couple of years, there are hardly any new entrants to national camps, so young boxers are looking towards pro boxing.
With the Professional Boxing Organisation of India organising the AIBA-sanctioned ABP pro bout in Noida on Saturday, there are chances some lesser-known Indian faces, who are doing well on the pro circuit, will get a chance to compete in the qualifying event for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in Venezuela in July.