Olympian Diwakar Prasad and former national champion Madan Lal on Tuesday became the latest to join the professional bandwagon in boxing, signing up with the promoters who are managing the likes of Vijender Singh and Akhil Kumar.
The 32-year-old Diwakar, whose amateur career was hampered by illnesses at crucial junctures, turned pro along with Madan and 11 others boxers.
"Five years ago, professional boxing did not have the kind of presence that it has now in India. So I am finally getting a chance to experience what it would be like," said the 32-year-old, who has the experience of competing in the International Boxing Association's semi-professional World Series of Boxing.
Of the 13, who signed up, most of the boxers are already competing in the professional circuit, the most notable being Neeraj Goyat — the reigning WBC Asia Pacific welterweight champion.
"It is a great step for my professional career. I am doing pro boxing for the last six years and I thought joining hands with IOS would give a fillip to my career," said Neeraj, who had been boxing under the Professional Boxing Organisation of India (PBOI) banner till now.
Neeraj has fought 12 bouts in the circuit, winning eight.
Amandeep Singh, another PBOI boxer, also signed up with IOS after the two bodies decided to join hands.
The 13 who joined in on Tuesday, also include Pawan Mann, an unbeaten MMA fighter. He has fought five professional fights in the Super Fight League under the Welterweight category and the Lightweight category and has been named the Champion in both the categories.
"I used to be an amateur boxer before turning to MMA. I quit amateur boxing because of politics which affects selection. Now, professional boxing is giving me another chance to go back to my first love which is boxing," he said.