Vijender Singh grabbing headlines after joining the ranks of professional boxers is having a ripple effect in India. While the contemporary of the Beijing Olympics bronze medallist, Akhil Kumar, and another former India boxer, Jitender Kumar, too are set to kick off their pro careers, former women’s world champion L Sarita Devi won her first pro bout in January.
Now more boxers, including those who don’t see a future as amateurs, are lining up to turn pro.
Punjab’s international boxer Amandeep Singh is the latest to announce he will pursue a pro career. Since 2012, he has made fewer and fewer appearances in the amateur domestic circuit.
Amandeep said he had hit a plateau as an amateur and was looking for a break. “I still have the zeal to excel in sports, so I want to avail of the opportunity (to turn pro).”
The number of amateurs making the shift is increasing by each day. Olympian Diwakar Prasad from Jharkhand is also making his pro debut this season.
According to Gaurav Tomar, promoter of pro boxing, the undercards would be assured of six fights annually. “All the players will have one month training under experts before each fight. The remaining part of the year, the boxers will train solo,” he said.
However, Tomar didn’t give details of the remuneration these boxers will get. “We are a private body and can’t disclose our business model,” he said.
Although many former internationals have made a beeline for the pro circuit in the hope of earning good money, the route to the top is very challenging, said PK Muralidharan Raja, chief of Indian Boxing Council, which promotes pro boxing in the country.
“There aren’t many sponsors for pro events in the country. How many will benefit it is too early to predict,” he added.