Vijender Singh will fight the tenth pro bout under his own banner – Vijender Singh Promotions. The pro boxer gunning for a perfect 10-0 record has decided to turn a boxing professional with bigger goals in mind. He is working on a vision to create an eco-system that inculcates professionalism and educates boxers about their rights.
In an exclusive interview with insidesport.co Vijender shared his vision on professional boxing, challenges, and prospects. Here are the excerpts.
Insidesport: Congratulations for joining the ranks of the likes of Mike Tyson, Oscar de la Hoya, and Floyd Mayweather, who fight bouts under their own professional banners.
You are aiming to extend your professional record to a perfect 10. However, to enter the ring under your own banner is a bigger milestone. How did it happen?
Vijender Singh: Yes. I will be contesting my next bout under the Vijender Singh Promotions banner. I would like to tell the boxing fraternity that this is a banner for any boxer who is aspiring to make a mark as a professional. Vijender Singh Promotions is for the boxers, of the boxers and by the boxers. Fighting a bout under this banner is the best opportunity for myself and my promotion company. The fraternity at this stage needs lots of hand holding.
IS: But iOS Sports & Entertainment has been promoting your forthcoming bout in Jaipur on December 23.
VS: We (IOS and Vijender Singh Promotions) have formed an alliance for this bout. We hold equal stakes. This is a different relationship than my earlier bouts under the (IOS) banner. Vijender Singh Promotions is an independent entity that will work for the promotion of professional boxers and professional boxing.
IS: You said the boxing fraternity needs a lot of handholding. Can you please elaborate?
VS: Professional boxing in our scenario is governed by long-term and short-term contracts. Boxers fall prey to the bait of an opportunity to contest on a bigger stage. They don’t even look at the contract beyond their professional fee. They don’t understand what rights have been taken away from them. Imagine, after all this success and exposure even I have felt cheated with these contracts. I have suffered big frustration and losses. I have paid the price for this lack of knowledge. Since I understand this now, I cannot let others suffer.
It is not possible for me to force that change by only being in the ring and winning bouts. I will be the flag bearer for that change. That will be the prime objective of Vijender Singh Promotions. This will be a platform to educate boxers, give them opportunities and liberty to move on as they grow up the ladder.
IS: What difference will the VSP make?
VS: There will be two major changes. First, Vijender Singh Boxers will not tie down a boxer with contractual bindings. The contracts will be only for contesting bouts with an equal opportunity to the boxers. If a boxer finds a better career opportunity, he or she will be free to explore that. Secondly, we will educate the boxers about their rights and interests.
I own a lot to this sport. I am obliged to return. I also need to earn for that. To set up a boxing academy is one of my long -term goals. But you know that is an expensive affair. I will have to do everything on my own. I cannot depend on others. I cannot depend on system. I have to create my own system.
IS: You have also been training in the Western world. How is that different than India?
VS: Pro boxing in India is at a formative stage. We will take a long time to attain the professionalism that exists in the US or British professional circuit. Boxers are the key element in that growth. They need protection. Here we turn professionals after having achieved that sense of satisfaction as amateurs or when we see that our amateur career is not leading us any further. The pro culture there (in the West and the US) is so strong that the boxers from the formative years opt and train for professional boxing. Our system will take time to give that assurance.
IS: Vijender Singh is an Olympic medallist, a model, an actor and an entrepreneur, too. Other than the professional boxing promotion company you have also launched a clothing range Viju and You. How do you wear so many hats?
VS: Smiles. This all is possible because I have been fortunate to succeed as an athlete. Even my clothing range is all about sports. People give me love. They give me respect. They proudly take selfies with me. They approach me for autographs. My clothing range will only give them a similar sense of association with me.
IS: How confident are you about making it a perfect ten?
VS: For any boxer, each bout is a challenge. I am going to defend WBO Oriental and Asia Pacific Super middleweight titles against Ghana’s Ernest Amuzu. I have won seven of the nine professional bouts with knock out verdicts. I am confident I will not let my fans down. But, you cannot take any opponent lightly.
If you don’t care for your community, if you don’t work for the growth of your community, you cannot go beyond a point.
iOS Sports & Entertainment’s CEO & MD, Neerav Tomar has confirmed to insidesport.co that the boxer and the promoter have formed an alliance for the bout in Jaipur on December 23.