Vijender Singh plans to fight in amateur circuit, but will it be easy?

According to BFI secretary general Jay Kowli, if professionals want to come back to the amateur fold, they must compete in the National championships.

Vijender Singh turned professional in 2015.   -  PTI

Vijender Singh returning to the ring donning the India colours could soon be a reality. With the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) opening doors for professional boxers to participate in State, national and inter-departmental tournaments, Vijender, the 2008 Olympic medallist, is willing to return to the fold.

“It’s a great move by the BFI and I would of course love to return to the national fold,” Vijender, who turned professional in 2015, told Sportstar on Saturday.

Toeing the line of the International Boxing Association, which decided to allow professional boxers to compete in amateur events, including the Olympics, the BFI decided to loosen its rules. And that has certainly opened doors for pros like Vijender and Neeraj Goyat.

‘Challenging’

“I plan to fight one more pro bout this year, and after that I am ready to participate in the National trials,” Vijender said, hinting at trying his luck for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifiers.

“It’s been four-five years since I have been out of amateur boxing. Professional boxing is different from amateur boxing, where there are lots of upcoming talents. You need to fight with them. It will be challenging, but I will fight it out,” Vijender declared.

The seasoned campaigner also admitted that life is different for an amateur boxer, as compared to the ones competing in the pro circuit. “It’s been ages since I have been to the national camp in Patiala. There are lot of restrictions, as compared to professional boxing. So, we will figure that out,” Vijender said.

Due process to be followed

However, the comeback may not be very easy for the Olympian. BFI secretary general Jay Kowli told this publication that if the professionals want to come back, they must follow due process and compete in the National championships.

“If one has to return to the national fold, he has to qualify for the Nationals from their respective teams. In the Nationals, it is important to perform well and be in the top-four. Then, there will be a camp, after which one has to feature in the selection trial. It is a standard process and we are not bending rules for anyone,” Kowli said,

He added: “We have opened the doors for them, but they need to prove.”

As per the BFI calendar, the elite men’s Nationals will be held from October 4-10 in Shimla, where the first batch of campers will be picked. Prior to that, there will be a World Championship in Moscow — from September 7-21 — for which the team has already been selected. “If a boxer comes from [the World Championship] with any medal, he will be sent for the first Olympic qualifier. If he fails to qualify, the National champion and the top boxer in the respective category will be picked on the basis of a trial tournament, and the best one will be sent for the second qualifier. That has been the rule and we will follow that,” Kowli said.