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Vijender wants a shot at Rio 2016, but promoters are not happy about it

‘Since pro boxers are allowed to take part, I want to play the qualifier. This is a matter of representing the country, why should I leave the opportunity,’ says star boxer

other sports Updated: Jun 06, 2016 23:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Vijender,Boxing,Kerry Hope
Vijender Singh during the announcement of his pro fight against Australian Kerry Hope on July 16 in New Delhi.(AFP)

Olympic bronze medallist and professional boxer Vijender Singh, who will take on former European champion Kerry Hope in the WBO Asia title bout at the Thyagaraj Stadium here on July 16, said he wants a shot at the Rio Olympics.

The qualifier for the Olympics is scheduled in Venezuela from July 3.

“Since pro boxers are allowed to take part, I want to play the qualifier. This is a matter of representing the country, why should I leave the opportunity,” said Vijender on Monday.

However, his UK-based promoter and head of Queensberry Promotions, Francis Warren, didn’t approve of Vijender’s dream. “I won’t at all be happy if he wants to go there. As I see it, there is no time. Of course, he is his own man, he has his own mind but that cannot hinder with what we have planned for him because it’s taken a year to reach where he has. He has contractual obligations with us,” said Warren.

Vijender seemed to have made up his mind. “Yes, the promoters have been right in showing their discontent with my Olympic plan because we are legally bound to them by contract. But a contract doesn’t mean they have full control on my decisions. I will take the decisions and will sit and discuss, even if it asks for any legal formality. If I get a good legal advice, I would surely want to go.

“I know the promoter has spent a lot of money, but at the end of the day if I am not happy, it doesn’t make sense. If there is a chance in Venezuela and if I have to qualify I have to inform the authorities about what I will be doing. When it comes to handling my team, I can do that and the authorities can handle other formalities,” he said.

“If Vijender wins on July 16, he will enter the top-15 of the WBO rankings. From there, we are looking at a world title bout in the next few months. It (going to the Olympic qualifiers) is not something he can decide on his own. He will have to discuss with us and we will do that behind closed doors,” said Warren.

Vijender’s Olympic plan looks unrealistic as Vikas Krishan could also participate in the qualifier in Vijender’s weight category of 75 kg.

“If Vikas wins the berth for India, I will be happy for him. I don’t have a problem because I will then try in 81kg category. It is the Olympics and we should not be fighting amongst each other,” said Vijender.

First Published: Jun 06, 2016 22:05 IST