Earlier this week the Boxing Federation of India have announced that they have nominated two boxers for the massively significant Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna annual awards.
The fighters that have been nominated are Vikas Krishan and Amit Panghal, who have both been staples of the Indian boxing scene for years.
The Boxing Federation of India has seen Panghal turned down for the award in the past due to a positive drug test earlier in his career, which was reportedly caused by medication to treat chickenpox, and they have vowed to nominate him every year until he wins.
The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna annual awards are the highest sporting honours available in India and are named after a former prime minister. Each sporting discipline is allowed to nominate two participants, though no boxer has picked up the award since 2009, when Mary Kom and Vijender Singh shared the award along with Wrestler Sushil Kumar.
The Federation has also nominated a trio of fighters for the Arjuna Award. They are the world bronze medal winning trio of Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Simranjit Kaur (64kg) and Manish Kaushik (63kg).
At the moment the Asian Amateur Championships are going on and Indian fight fans are certainly showing a lot of interest in that. It's worth noting however that it's not just Indian amateur fighters having success, but also professionals, and yesterday two notable Indian pro's picked up wins in the west.
The most promising of those fighters was former amateur standout Vikas Krishan (2-0, 1), who took a 6 round decision win over 23 year old American fighter Noah Kidd (3-2-1, 2).
Vikas's win, which came on the under-card of Terence Crawford's victory over Amir Khan, was a near shut out victory for the "Indian Tank", who was dominant but will feel disappointed to have not scored a stoppage. To his credit Kidd came to win, but lacked the skills to really test Vikas, who pressed the fight through out and was well deserving of the win.
For fans wanting to watch Vikas's bout it can be seen in the below video, starting about 41 minutes in.
As well as Vikas' win it was also a successful night for Neeraj Goyat (11-3-2, 2), who took a 6 round decision over Carlos Lopez Marmolejo (9-7-1, 5) in Ontario, Canada. This was Goyat's second win in Canada, coming after his Canadian debut last September, and was a step up in class from his last bout. Saying that however Marmolejo is no star, and the 40 year old had been stopped in 4 prior defeats, including 3 of his previous 6.
Earlier this evening we saw Indian hopeful Vikas Krishan (1-0, 1), dubbed the "Indian Tank" make his professional boxing debut, and it was a successful one as he halted American foe Steven Andrade (3-4, 2) in the second round.
From the opening seconds Krishan was applying constant pressure behind his southpaw stance, landing some solid jabs and forcing Andrade on to the back foot. At times in the opening minute or so Andrade did throw something back but as the opening round went on Krishan began to find the range for his southpaw left hand.
By the end of the opening round it seemed like Krishan had really gotten rolling and he refused to let off in round 2, eventually forcing the referee to save Andrade as shots came his way. By that point it was clear that there was such a gulf in skill that Andrade didn't have what was needed to be competitive with the Indian debutant.
Although it's early to day, and there is clearly a lot of work to do with Krishan, the Indian prospect looked good but Andrade really wasn't up to much and seemed to lack any ambition to even make this a difficult debut.
Krishan does appear to a big hope, and Top Rank are clearly looking to build him into the figure head for the Indian market, but it could be a few years before we see him in a really meaningful fight, given the way Top Rank don't usually tend to rush fighters. Still this was a good debut, and he is certainly one to watch.
Later today we'll see former Indian amateur stand out Vikas Krishan (0-0) make his professional boxing debut, as he takes on American foe Steven Andrade (3-3, 2).
Yesterday the two men took part in the weigh in for their bout, and move men came in between the Welterweight and Light Middleweight limits.
On the scales Vikas was the heavier man, coming in at 152lbs whilst Andrade was slightly lighter at 151¾lbs.
The bout is expected to be a straight forward win for Vikas, who is regarded as a top prospect an a huge star of the future for Indian boxing. Andrade on the other hand has lost his last 3 and is without a win since stopping Michael Walker back in February 2016.
(Image courtesy of Top Rank)
In November Top Rank announced that they had signed Indian star Vijender Singh (10-0, 7), who has been inactive since December 2017. Over the last few days we have been informed that the plan is for Singh's first fight under Top Rank is to come in either late February or early March and is expected to be held at Madison Square Garden.
At the moment their is no opponent set for Singh, though the expectation is that it will be someone limited as Singh needs to desperately shake off some ring rust.
Given the timing of his US debut it's expected that Singh will share a card with fellow Top Rank promoted Indian fighter Vikas Krishan Yadav (0-0), who will be making his debut on January 18th. It's also assumed likely that Top Rank will do their best to work Singh into a world title fight sooner rather than later, knowing that Singh is now in his 30's and won't have a career that will last too many more years.
An announcement on Singh bout is expected later this month, and will be massive news in India, given how big of a star the unbeaten fighter is. His TV audience and potential fan base is massive and Top Rank will want to make that huge news when they announce it.
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