Young Indian boxers L Devendro Singh and Gaurav Bhiduri have received the chance of a lifetime; World Series of Boxing contracts with the Polish and Italian franchises respectively.
The pair has been supported by sports management group Anglian Medal Hunt, and the company is believed to have played a part in securing the contracts for the boxers.
Devendro (22), a Commonwealth Games and Asian Championships silver medallist, joins the Polish Hussars for the season which starts on 16 January 2015. Bhiduri (21) was signed by the 2011-2012 season champions Italia Thunders.
The WSB is a great opportunity for young boxers as the league is a route to the Olympics, via individual championship winners being granted quota places at the games. The league used to have an Indian team, the Mumbai Fighters, whom Bhiduri fought for in the past. Since then several Indian boxers, including Akhil Kumar, Mandeep Jangra, Shiva Thapa and Sumit Sangwan, have fought for other teams.
The Italian team is thrilled to have the youngster on board, with MD Paolo Cassera saying: "I am glad that boxer Gaurav Bhiduri is about to join the Italia Thunder. I give him my warmest welcome and can't wait to meet him. We are building a great team and we hope to qualify as many boxers as possible to the next Olympic Games in 2016."
It seems both sides are happy with the deal, as Bhiduri gushed: "I don't have words to describe how it feels. It is a huge opportunity for me because the Italian team features some big names like Paddy Barnes."
Devendo, who has faced Olympic medallist Paddy Barnes twice before, was also pleased to sign up. He said: "I am so excited about the prospect of competing in this tournament. It is a huge opportunity for me because I can also grab an Olympic berth if I do well."
Devendo also feels this opportunity will help the boxers grow as athletes, saying: "We are getting used to playing without head guards in the amateur competitions and we will train hard to ensure that we have the stamina to last five rounds in this event. It will definitely make us better boxers."