Indian boxer Vijender Singh is unsure whether he can participate in the Rio Olympics 2016, as India still lack a proper boxing body. On Wednesday, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) voted in favour of pro boxers getting a chance to participate at the Olympics, in an extraordinary congress in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The move has generated enormous curiosity among boxing fans as to whether they can see stars like Manny Pacquiao, Vijender, Wladimir Klitschko or Amir Khan once more in the mega quadrennial sporting event. The move, meanwhile, has also drawn flak from several amateur and pro boxers.
Vijender, who has been making shock-waves in the pro boxing super middleweight circuit, was soon asked whether he welcomed the move and saw himself participating in the Olympics once again.
"I welcome AIBA's decision of allowing professional boxers to compete in the Rio Olympics. I am yet to receive the formalities for this entire process. Since there is no federation in the country, I don't know who will guide me for this entire thing," the 30-year-old, who won a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics, has been quoted as saying by Press Trust of India.
"Right now I am concentrating on my 16 July [WBO Asia] title fight to be held in New Delhi," Vijender added.
So far Shiva Thapa is the only Indian boxer to have booked a berth for the nation in the Rio games. Earlier today, the Indian boxing federation mentioned contemplating requesting the international body to give star boxer Mary Kom a wildcard entry in the event.
Pacquiao, Khan and Klitschko had earlier expressed desire to participate in the Olympics. Now whether they do take it seriously, remains to be seen. Amir Khan, for one, wants to compete under the Pakistan flag.
"It´s a [the AIBA] decision which I welcome," Khan, a silver medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics, was quoted as saying by Agence-France Presse. "It will help boxers and if I am permitted as per rules and from my promoter then I would love to compete for Pakistan.
"I will be very happy if I can compete in Olympics. I want to serve Pakistan," the 29-year-old added.
An interesting fact remains that an Olympic qualifying tournament is scheduled to take place in Venezuela early July, giving the chance to the pro boxers to try their luck in an attempt to feature for their nation at Rio 2016. A total of 26 entry places can be earned during this tournament.
"AIBA are organising for the APB (AIBA Pro Boxing), WSB (World Series Boxing) and outside professionals, if they come, an event for them to qualify in Venezuela, that will be our event [for pros]," AIBA President Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu told Boxing News on Wednesday. "I believe that event will really be a highlight, because all the WSB, APB, professionals, will be mixed together."
The AIBA World Qualifiers in Azerbaijan -- the last qualifying event for amateur boxers in the Olympics -- is scheduled for June 16. Pro boxers cannot participate in the event.