Vijender`s u-turn, open to support any faction

PTI| Updated: Mar 19, 2014, 20:28 PM IST

New Delhi: Boxer Vijender Singh on wednesday made a u-turn from his stance that he is backing the former IABF secretary-general P K Muralidharan Raja-led faction, saying that whichever group gets the national boxing body`s suspension lifted by the AIBA will receive his support.

"I am with every faction. I am supporting Raja, Abhay Singh Chautala (former IABF president) or for that matter Ashok Matoria (present IABF president). I am supporting every group.

I am a boxer and my job is boxing. I am not a politician that I would be supporting this group or that group. Whichever faction will help in taking the Indian boxing forward, I am with that group," Vijender told reporters here.

Indian Amateur Boxing Federation`s (IABF) suspension has rendered the country`s boxers ineligible to compete in any international event.

Furious with the current logjam in the IABF, the International Boxing Association had terminated the body from its fold stating that the current set of office-bearers are "damaging the image, reputation and interest" of the sport.

The rebel faction, led by Brigadier (Retd) Raja and West Bengal Boxing Association chief Asit Banerjee in the terminated IABF, had claimed that Olympic and World Championships bronze-medallist Vijender had agreed to be on the athletes commission.

The group, which claims to have the backing of 23 of the 35 state units on board, has already approached AIBA with a vision document to take the Indian boxing forward in a transparent way after the world body sought applications from "any group of people with passion and love for our sport to submit applications for the establishment of a new National Federation".

Vijender had himself said that he decided to come on board as he felt the group led by Raja-Banerjee has proven credentials. Raja was the Secretary General till 2012.

The boxer said he wants an early resolution to the
impasse so that Indian boxers can compete under the national flag at the international events.

"I want something good to happen to Indian boxing soon. I want an early resolution of this issue.

Efforts should be made to conduct the Nationals....There has been no Nationals for the last two years," he said.

Vijender even went on to say that the last group, led by Chautala, did a good job in taking the boxing forward.

"Last group led by Abhay Singh Chautala did a good job, Abhishek Matoria also did a good job. I am hoping that whoever comes into power must work for the benefit of boxing.

I hope that everything will be sorted out soon. I am with everyone," he said.

Talking about his preparation for the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games this year, Vijender said, "I think three to four months preparation is enough to prepare for the event.

I have time on my hand. I will participate in the next invitational tournament abroad."
Vijender, who is ready to make his Bollywood debut with Fugly starring superstar Akshay Kumar, said it was tougher shooting for a film than boxing.

"I enjoyed a lot while shooting for the film. It was an altogether different experience. The release date is June 13, please go and watch it.

I have put in a lot of efforts in the movie. Boxing and acting are totally different.

If Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali can act on the big screen, why can`t I? I thought of giving it a try. I got the opportunity and here I am making my Bollywood debut," he signed off.