Vijender Singh defended his WBO Asia Pacific Super-Middleweight title by beating Tanzanian boxer Francis Cheka by a TKO at Thyagaraj Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday. Vijender, the 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medallist, is undefeated in eight professional bouts now. Catch the highlights of the Vijender Singh vs Francis Cheka bout as well as the undercard encounters here.
22:32 IST: It might have been an anticlimax for many fans who thronged to Thyagaraj Stadium to watch Vijender Singh defend his WBO Asia Pacific Super-Middleweight belt against veteran boxer Francis Cheka of Tanzania. The 10-round bout ended in three rounds, with the referee stopping the contest. The TKO victory has kept Vijender’s nascent professional career blemish free. He now has seven knockouts against his name from eight bouts. And though the crowd couldn’t see their superstar fight longer, they did celebrate the victory in style.
22:13 IST: Vijender Singh’s victory -- a TKO over Francis Cheka of Tanzania -- after referee stopped the contest in the third round, sent the whole of Thyagaraj Stadium into a celebratory frenzy. Par for the moment, one can say. But people, especially those on the front row, running amok and entering the ring, while many others were blocking Vijender’s path to catch hold of him and congratulate , created a bit of confusion and could have been avoided.
22:07 IST: Baba Ramdev and Sushil Kumar entered and many other front-fow spectators the ring as Vijender Singh was announced the winner of the bout against Francis Cheka. Well, this --the confusion -- happens only in India.
22:05 IST: Vijender Singh retains his WBO Asia Pacific Super-middleweight title beating Francis Cheka.
22:00 IST: Francis Cheka is using body movements to try and sidesteps Vijender Singh’s jabs. A bit of showboating from the Indian as well. However, the Tanzanian landed a couple of good blows, Vijender retaliated with a couple of his own, including one from a jab and a hook. Vijender landed 7 punches to Cheka’s 3 in the second round. Wins it easily
21:55 IST: Vijender Singh is making good use of the reach advantage he has over Francis Cheka. But the Indian is not trying anything aggressive in the first round. He has tried a few jabs, sizing up the opponent. Vijender gets caught by a quick combo from Cheka in the last seconds of the round. But the Indian wins the round, landing 3 punches to Cheka’s 1.
21:52 IST: The bout begins, Vijender Singh and Francis Cheka opting to fight from the outside, checking each other out with probing jabs.
21:50 IST: From the body language of the fighters, Francis Cheka looks nervous while Vijender Singh seems to be relaxed and ready for the kill. The bout is set to start in a couple of minutes.
21:45: The crowd at Tyagaraj Stadium erupts to a frenzy as Vijender Singh walks into the ring to defend his WBO Asia Pacific Super-Middleweight championship belt against Francis Cheka. This is the bout of the night which people have been waiting for.
21:41 IST: Francis Cheka walks in for the bout. Not to a great reception one would say.
21:38 IST: The crowd is waiting patiently for their hero to walk into the ring. Vijender Singh is up next, defending his WBO Asia Pacific Super-Middleweight championship belt against Francis Cheka of Tanzania. However, there has been a delay in proceedings. The bout has been rescheduled for 21:50 IST.
21:27 IST: Pardeep Kharera was the first Indian to lose in the night. The first three bouts of the night (undercards) were won by local fighters -- Deepak Tanwar, Dharmender Grewal and Kuldeep Dhanda. Superstar Vijender Singh is up in a little while, defending his WBO Asia Pacific Super-Middleweight crown against Francis Cheka of Tanzania.
21:17 IST: A tight bout but Australia’s Scott Edwards proved to be a bit stronger than India’s Pardeep Kharera. Edwards was the aggressor in the sixth and final round of their Welterweight (Indo-Australia) bout and won the bout by unanimous decision, taking four rounds to two.
21:13 IST: Pardeep Kharera puts Scott Edwards down to the canvas twice in the fifth round, the first being a trip and the second a legit knock. The Indian then connected a few punches to win the round. Kharera landed 11 punches Edwards’ 9.
21:10 IST: Scott Edwards of Australia won the fourth round over Pardeep Kharera in their Welterweight (Indo-Australia) bout. He landed 14 punches to the Indian’s 12 in the round. This one is a six-round affair so still a fair bit to go.
21:05 IST: Both boxers slowed down a little in the third round even as they traded blows, mostly to the body. In the relatively sluggish round, Kharera landed 7 punches while Edwards won the round by connecting 10. The Aussie, however, suffered a cut on his forehead, a little above the left eye.
21:00 IST: Kharera kept working on Edwards with his jabs and once the Aussie came close he tried his right hooks and body blows as well. The Indian seems seemed to be in control of the bout but Edwards came back strongly in towards the end of the second round. Kharera landed 9 punches while Edwards got 13 punches through, winning the round.
20:55 IST: Edwards has a height and reach advantage over Kharera. But the Australia chose to fight on the inside against the Indian rather than use the reach. That worked in Kharera’s favour as he sent through a few stinging jabs and hooks to win the first round. Kharera landed 6 punches to Edwards’ 4.
20:50 IST: Up next is the Welterweight (Indo-Australia) bout between India’s Pardeep Kharera and Scott Edwards of Australia.
20:45 IST: Indians are ruling the ring so far at Thyagaraj Stadium. The first three bouts of the night (undercards) have been won by local fighters -- Deepak Tanwar, Dharmender Grewal and Kuldeep Dhanda. Superstar Vijender Singh is up after two bouts, defending his WBO Asia Pacific Super-Middleweight crown against Francis Cheka of Tanzania.
20:40 IST: Though things were unattractive, Kuldeep Dhanda did land a few blows on Indonesia’s Egy Rozten. The Indian managed a victory by unanimous decision over Rozten in the Lightweight south east Asia bout.
20:37 IST: More clinches and wild swings followed in the third round of the Dhanda vs Rozten bout. Round 3 was won by Dhanda again, landing seven punches against the Indonesian’s two.
20:34 IST: Dhanda landed eight punches to Rozten’s six in the second round.
20:33 IST: Dhanda kept chasing Rozten to land decisive blows but was relying more on speed than combinations. That meant the Indonesian could evade more often than not. Dhanda did land a couple of blows, but so did Rozten. The bout looked less attractive, and once they clinched and fell to the ground together. A bit amateurish!
20:30 IST: The first round between Dhanda and Rozten was a cagey affair with both boxers using their speed to get through the defence of the other. The Indian did land a couple of solid rights, which pushed the Indonesian to the ropes. That should give the round to the Indian.
20:25 IST: Next bout is the four-round lightweight south east Asia encounter between Kuldeep Dhanda of India and Egy Rozten of Indonesia
20:20 IST: Even as we wait for the big bout of the day -- Vijender Singh vs Francis Cheka -- the other Indians in the undercard are setting the tone. In the opening bout of the night, Deepak Tanwar beat Sutriyono Bara Boys of Indonesia by a TKO (lightweight). Dharmender Grewal won the next bout (Cruiserweight intercontinental), beating Abasi Kyobe by unanimous decision in a bout that lasted the distance (four rounds).
20:15 IST: Indians have won two out of two bouts in the night. Dharmender Grewal beat Abasi Kyobe of Uganda by unanimous decision in their four-round Cruiserweight intercontinental bout.
20:10 IST: Grewal stuck to his bread-and-butter jab and straight combo to land some stinging blows on Kyobe. The Indian looked in great shape while the Ugandan seemed at sea as far as fight strategy is concerned, sticking to clinches and wild swings. Grewal clearly won the third round too.
20:05 IST: The two Cruiserweight pugilists seemed to have tired down a little, though it was just the second round of the bout. There were a few swing and misses. Grewal, however, landed a few shots on the body with his hooks and a couple of jabs as well. Kyobe clinched Grewal a few times to stop the Indian’s attack. Grewal won the second round by the looks of it.
20:00 IST: In the opening round, Grewal was trying to open up the defense of Kyobe with jabs and body combos from outside. The Ugandan was using a classic peek-a-boo style guard. The Indian was the lively of the two and the judges have given him the round.
19:55 IST: India’s Dharmender Grewal is up next, taking on Abasi Kyobe of Uganda in a four-round Cruiserweight intercontinental bout.
19:50 IST: Deepak Tanwar’s victory has hopefully set the tone for the Indians featuring in the night highlighted by superstar Vijender Singh’s first title defense, against Francis Cheka of Tanzania.
19:45 IST: A TKO. Deepak Tanwar is too good for Sutriyono Bara Boys . The Indian has won the bout after referee stops the contest a little over two minutes into the second round. Tanwar was fighting with an open guard, landing the jabs with ease. The Indonesian had a few swing and misses at best before a flurry of punches from Tanwar stopped the contest.
19:40 IST: TDeepak Tanwar punches down Sutriyono Bara Boys of Indonesia a minute into the first round. The Indonesian gets a standing eight count from the referee. The round has been clearly won by the Indian.
19:35 IST: The first bout of the night begins. India’s Deepak Tanwar takes on Sutriyono Bara Boys of Indonesia for Lightweight division.
Vijender Singh will make the first defence of his WBO Asia Pacific Super-Middleweight belt against Francis Cheka, who is the most accomplished fighter the Indian boxer has faced so far in his professional career.
Vijender Singh won his first pro title, beating Australia’s Kerry Hope in the same arena in July. The victory pushed Vijender into the top-10 of the WBO world rankings for the Super-Middleweight category.
Vijender, with six knockouts under his belt, dominated the bout against Hope, who was an experienced contender himself. But Vijender’s superior ring-craft made it look like a cakewalk, especially in the latter parts of that bout.
However, Cheka is a boxer who has been there in the pro circuit for, seemingly, an eternity. He has a pro record of 32 wins, 9 losses and 2 draws. The Tanzanian, who is the current Intercontinental Super Middleweight champion, has threatened to end Vijender’s professional career.
Though that statement can be bushed aside as pre-bout verbal joust, Cheka does have the ring experience (300 rounds in competition while Vijender has only spent 27 rounds in the pro ring) to attempt what he claimed he would.
But, in Vijender, the 35-year-old not just face a younger opponent (the Indian is 31 now) but also a technically sound boxer who is improving with every outing in the pro ring.