Amateur boxing about speed, being pro about power: Vijender Singh | other sports | Hindustan Times
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Amateur boxing about speed, being pro about power: Vijender Singh

Back home for a Diwali break after living and training in Manchester for two months, Vijender Singh said the gruelling training sessions proved excellent preparation for the easy wins over journeymen Sonny Whiting and Dean Gillen in his first bouts as professional.

other sports Updated: Nov 13, 2015 18:56 IST
HT Correspondent
Vijender Singh said improving his technique and defensive skills has been his biggest learning experience since turning professional.
Vijender Singh said improving his technique and defensive skills has been his biggest learning experience since turning professional.(Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

There may have been some skepticism when Vijender Singh turned a professional boxer, but a tough initiation into the new code and two initial knockouts later, the 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medal winner is determined to push on in search of glory.

Back home for a Diwali break after living and training in Manchester for two months, Singh said the gruelling training sessions proved excellent preparation for the easy wins over journeymen Sonny Whiting and Dean Gillen in his first bouts as professional. While they were over four rounds, his next bout on December 19 will be over six rounds.

The 30-year-old, in an interaction with Hindustan Times on Friday, said despite his 15-year experience as a top amateur boxer, there was nothing that had prepared him for the professional ranks. “The technique and style are different, and you have to be more focused on defence. The gloves are far lighter, and when they taped my hands for the first time, it was so tight they turned blue,” he said.

“In the amateur game, it is a lot about speed. As a professional, it is power,” said Singh, who put his far more compact physique down to the gruelling training sessions. Sparring with superior boxers, running, “30-40 laps of swimming” and focus on nutrition and protein intake, from his diet rather than supplements --- “I was told not to use any supplement because a positive dope test can mean a two-year ban” --- all have opened his eyes to a new world where glory belongs only to those who reach the pinnacle.

“The first month was like hell. But when the first bout ended, I felt a lot more confident,” he said. Singh will soon return to Manchester to resume training for his next bout on December 19, which will be over six rounds. The first two bouts were over four rounds.

One of the memorable moments was when he was invited to the roof of the House of Commons. Indian origin British MP Keith Vaz told Singh that only Rajiv Gandhi, Sunil Gavaskar, Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan had been invited before him. “And the next should be our Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Singh joked.

Although he felt lonely living in Manchester, interacting with expatriates, both from India and Pakistan, and their warmth made a lot of difference, he said. Singh is also fast learning the ropes of professional boxing, which is all about glamour and showmanship.

“The first time, I didn’t know what to say at the face-off, but now I am much better prepared,” he said.