Vijender Singh gave up his Olympic dream to help India and himself earn a name in the field of professional boxing. His first pro bout against Sonny Whiting, who lost to Vijender, provided a glimpse of the Indian boxer's skills at the pro level.
Vijender's impressive debut against Whiting was noticed by many all over the world, including boxers and experts alike. Even UK boxer Amir Khan praised Vijender for a wonderful start to his pro career.
"Vijender did well in his debut. The fight was good. He is learning quickly. He is slowing himself down and boxing smartly. I think he could be the first world champion from India," IANS quoted Khan as saying.
However, the way ahead is long and tough one for the pugilist, who is set to face Dean Gillen in his second professional bout on 7 November. After his amazing display in the first bout, there are plenty of expectations from the India boxer.
Vijender is currently undergoing training under the watchful eyes of Lee Beard and the trainer is helping him get in perfect shape and prepare him for his upcoming bout. Vijender was a successful boxer at the amateur level, but it is a huge leap to pro boxing, which is surely going to the test the pugilist from Haryana.
Khan explained that there is a huge difference between an amateur and pro level and he believes Vijender, who is doing well, has a great future in pro boxing.
"It is hard to go from an amateur boxer to a professional boxer. There is a lot of difference between amateur boxing and the professional level. The training, fighting style, scoring system, everything is different. But Vijender seems to be handling the changes well. If he continues to learn and improve, I definitely feel that he has a great future ahead of him," said Khan.
Vijender has taken a huge dive into the sea of pro boxing, where India boxers have failed to earn a name in the past. However, the sport of boxing still remains under the shadow of cricket, like other sports in India.
Khan believes India need more people like Vijender and Mary Kom to promote boxing in the country.
"We need more people like Vijender and Mary Kom in India. People like them are an inspiration for the youth which helps to promote boxing in India," said Khan.