Vijender Singh says he is looking forward to a “new beginning” ahead of his first professional fight on Saturday night (10).
The 2008 Beijing Olympic bronze medallist takes on an as-yet unnamed opponent in Manchester on what he hopes will be the first step towards world title glory.
Singh insisted he has made the right choice to enter the pro ranks despite the controversy it has caused in India, and can’t wait to get into action.
“It’s amazing being in England,” the 29-year-old middleweight star told Eastern Eye. “I’m based in Manchester, it’s definitely a new beginning.
“Everything is good, training is very difficult though. It is a lot different from the amateurs, there are so many different techniques.
“Professional boxing is the next step for me. I had great success in the amateurs but it is time for me to go for world titles.”
After a stellar amateur career which included three Commonwealth and two Asian Games medal hauls, Singh signed a pro deal with British-based Queensland Promotions in June.
The decision meant he wouldn’t be able to represent his country at next year’s Rio Olympics, which led to criticism from leading Indian sporting and political figures.
Singh, though, dismissed all of the talk. “It happens all the time in India. People who don’t understand about sport and boxing are talking about sport,” he said.
“I’ve been to three Olympics and achieved what I wanted to. Now the dream is pro boxing. India hasn’t head any big pro stars. I want to be India’s first major breakout fighter.”
Singh knows it will be a tough task to reach the top of the tree, especially in a world class middleweight division that includes the likes of Gennady Golovkin, Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez.
He explained: “The boxing styles between amateur and pro are so different. Amateur fights are only three rounds, professional can be twelve.
“You can take your time more and look for the right punch. I’ve also been doing a lot of power work too. I hope the technical skills I have learned in the amateurs give me an advantage.
“It really is a new life and a new beginning.”
Promoter Francis Warren outlined the timeline to make Singh’s dream come true, and revealed a future title fight in India next year is in their plans.
“The first year we’re going to have six fights in the UK. We’re already working on a television deal back in India, so all his fans can watch him live,” Warren told Eastern Eye.
“We want to build up some momentum and take the show over to Delhi in a year’s time. Hopefully we can have a ranking title fight over there.There’s a couple of decent titles we can look at, maybe the Commonwealth or Intercontinental.
“I asked Vijender what his ultimate goal was the first time we met. He said he wanted to win a world title. That for me says a lot about the guy.”
Warren added: “He didn’t need to do this. He could have gone to Rio next year, but no disrespect to the amateur game, this is a completely different ball game.
“He could have won a medal in Brazil and become an even bigger hero back home. But I feel he can become an even bigger star, not only to Indian sports fans but the general population, now.
“He’s still very much flying the flag for India. The goal is to be competing with the best for world titles in three years.”
You can see Vijender Singh’s fights on Boxnation. For more information and ticket details, go to www.frankwarren.tv