Vijender’s next pro boxing opponent Kerry Hope is a globetrotter. A former European champion, Hope spent a major part of his career in America before moving to Australia. Hope is not just a boxer but an athlete who loves to take up challenges.
Before the announcement of his fight against Vijender on Monday, Hope’s Twitter handle had a message, “Early rise here in Delhi, ready to hit the hotel gym before breakfast.”
“I took to the treadmill and ran for about 45 minutes. The machine stalled and I had to be content with what I did. In terms of kilometers, I did more than 10k and had the machine gone for a little more, I could have bettered my run,” he said.
Hope runs marathons in Australia. He finished the previous one under three hours. “I will try and run the next one in less than two-and-half. It is two weeks before my bout in India and I hope I recover for the bout,” he said.
Hope’s aim is to compete in the Ironman, but the fear of sharks keeps him away from water. “When it comes to sharks, I know I am human. It is dangerous to go in sea. I am training through marathons and cycling but I will have to go back to Wales to do the swimming bit,” he laughed.
Hope plays rugby as well. “I like to challenge myself and participating in all these sports help you in boxing as well,” he said.
Seeing him on the rugby field, his 10-year-old son has taken up the sport. “In Australia, I took him to a cricket academy but he did not like the experience. He loves rugby. But I would never let him take up boxing. I know the sacrifices one has to make and I wouldn’t like my son to undergo all that,” said Hope.
Against Vijender, Hope is banking on the experience of 183 rounds collected over 30 fights. Hope hasn’t fought in nine months and the fight in India will be a test.
“All this while, I have made sure I was gymming hard and never missed training. I know form is important but experience should help me come good against Vijender,” said Hope.