Vikas Krishan all set for AIBA Pro Boxing; becomes first ever Indian to achieve the feat

Vikas Krishan will face Uzbekistans Israil Madrimov on his AIBA Pro Boxing APB debutMumbai: In a landmark moment for Indian boxing, middleweight (75 kg) boxer Vikas Krishan Yadav will be competing in the AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) competition this Friday. The 24-year-old Vikas who is supported by the JSW Sports Excellence Program (SEP) will fight Uzbekistan's Israil Madrimov in Tashkent on Friday, 26th of February, 2016.

The 2014 Asian Games bronze medallist is targeting a quota at August's Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics. The APB offers 20 quotas for the Olympics split over weight categories. The middleweight (75 kg) category has two quotas for the Rio Olympics with the top-two boxers in the category making the cut for the quadrennial event.

Vikas, ranked sixth in the world in middleweight, recently won the gold medal at the South Asian Games and is the first ever Indian boxer to participate in the APB, where participation is by an AIBA invitation only. Earlier, Indian boxers have participated in the World Series of Boxing (WSB).

Vikas' opponent, Madrimov, won the silver medal in the welterweight (69 kg) category at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon. The Indian pugilist will be accompanied by his coach Jagdeep Hooda and will leave on the 24th of February for Uzbekistan's capital. Vikas is currently training at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) Patiala under Dharmendra Yadav and chief national coach GS Sandhu.

According to the APB's unique structure, Vikas will also be able to represent India at the AOB Asian and Oceania qualifiers which are scheduled to be held from 23rd March to 3rd April even though he will be fighting in AIBA's Pro Boxing competition. A victory over Madrimov will allow Vikas to move into the next round of the APB whereas a loss ends his campaign.

The opportunity to test himself against some of the world's best boxers was the reason Vikas said he took the decision of competing in the APB. "Over the last couple of months, it has been difficult to find quality sparring partners and it is important to prepare very well if I have to win a quota for the Rio Olympics. The APB stint will allow me to fight against some challenging opponents and that will ensure that I test myself thoroughly and iron out any flaws in my technique," he said.

The Southpaw also hinted that exposure in the APB would serve him well during the Asian qualifiers particularly in fortifying his mental make-up. "Pro boxing is a different ballgame altogether. You need to be aggressive, you need to score points and you need to ensure that you stick to your plan. Fighting in the APB will allow me to actually work on certain aspects that I have incorporated into my boxing post the World Championships and the quality of my opponents will ensure that I do not let my guard down, which will be beneficial for me going into the Asian qualifiers," he said.