The lesser-known Indian professional boxers Neeraj Goyat, Dilbag Singh and Vikas Hooda, who are into the pro circuit for the last 2-3 years have got approval from AIBA to participate in the final qualification event for Rio that will take place in Venezuela from July 3 to 8.
This tournament is meant for professional boxers and also those who have had participated in the World Series of Boxing and AIBA Pro-Boxing. In all there will be 26 Olympic quotas up for grabs during the Venezuela tournament.
The pro boxers who are willing to compete in Venezuela event have to register their names to AIBA and the world governing body of the sport has given its go ahead to the Indian pro boxers.
Neeraj, who has 11 pro bouts under his credit, will compete in 69kg category. He has won the WBC Asian title in 64kg, but since Manoj Kumar has earned the Olympic quota place in 64kg, he has to move to a higher weight division.
Vikas Hooda, who has yet to compete overseas in pro circuit, will participate in 91kg weight division. While 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Dilbag Singh, who has an all win record in his three pro-bouts, is eligible to compete in 81kg category.
But his participation depends on whether Sumit Sangwan will get the Rio quota place or not in the ongoing AIBA world qualifiers in Baku, Azerbaijan. Sangwan lost in the quarters to Russian Petr Khamukov but if the Russian boxer wins gold, then Sumit will get the quota as there are five quota places in 81kg in Baku.
Gaurav Bidhuri, who is also eligible for the Venezuela event because of his WSB participation, has registered for the event. He will be competing in the 52kg weight category.
“I have registered for the Venezuela event along with Dilbag and Hooda and today we got the official communication from AIBA giving its go head for the July event,” said Neeraj Goyat, who has seven wins and two draws in pro boxing.
With the Professional Boxing Organisation of India organised the AIBA-sanctioned ABP pro-bout in Noida on June 11, the chances of some lesser-known Indian faces who are doing well on the pro circuit, became brighter to compete in the qualifying event for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in Venezuela.