The news of star boxer Vijender Singh possibly looking to end his India career and turn professional has not been well met by chief coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu.
Vijender Singh and India coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu
Though Sandhu did not say that the Bhiwani boxer would be making a mistake if he does choose to turn pro as report in a British tabloid yesterday, he did say that the move would hamper India's preparations for next year's Rio Olympics.
"Look, I do not know what Vijender's plan is because he has not spoken to me about it (turning professional). But yes, if he does decide to do so, it will definitely affect our preparations for the Olympics," Sandhu told mid-day yesterday.
It's Vijender's call
"Viju is a senior athlete. He is a fine boxer and a very good human being. All the boys (boxers training at the national camp in Patiala) love him and look up to him as a mentor.
"But at the end of the day, only he knows what is best for his career and if he does make any such decision, I'm sure he would have put in a lot of thought into it. I can't stop him. For that matter, if any boxer chooses to turn professional, we (coaches) cannot stop him," added Sandhu.
According to a report in the Daily Mail yesterday, Vijender, who is currently training at London's Queensberry Promotions, a company owned by British promoter Warren Francis, has decided to turn professional and a formal announcement on this is due today.
The 29-year-old boxer won India its first ever Olympic medal (a bronze) in the sport at Beijing 2008. He also won medals at the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championships besides holding the No 1 ranking in the Middleweight division in 2009.
Last year, Vijender also gave acting a shot, but his debut film Fugly bombed at the box office.