And the verbal jabs have begun, much before the actual bout. It is pro boxing, after all. Vijender Singh will be defending his WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title here on December 17. And his opponent, Francis Cheka, who is the current Intercontinental Super Middleweight champion, is threatening to end the Indian’s professional career.
“I will hit Vijender hard on his face that he will never think of professional boxing again,” said Francis Cheka. The 34-year-old Tanzanian has already stepped up his training to take on the challenge and punches Vijender will throw at him, backed by a vociferous Indian crowd.
“I am making Cheka do some grilling training these days. Even though he is way more experienced than Vijender Singh, he needs to be prepared for anything that is thrown at him, it’s a matter of winning the title after all,” said Jay Msangi, Cheka’s trainer.
Cheka has 43 bouts under his belt, out of which he has won 32 -- 17 of them coming via knockouts. Vijender Singh, on the other hand, has had seven pro bouts so far, winning six of them via TKO or knockouts.
Vijender’s last bout, against Australia’s Kerry Hope for the Asia Pacific belt lasted the distance (8 rounds) with the Indian winning it by unanimous decision.
Vijender unbeaten in pro career
Vijender’s professional career, which is a little over an year now, has been good so far. He has risen in the WBO world rankings and his No. 10 now. But his opponents, except for Hope, have been way below par to have tested the Beijing Olympics bronze medalist.
Of course, the Indian’s strong technical base, from a very successful and long amateur career (he was ranked the World No. 1 middleweight in 2008-09), has kept him a cut above the typical contenders boxers have to fight at the start of their professional career.
It is that technical brilliance and ring craft that Cheka is worried about. Perhaps that’s why he has stepped up training and is also getting involved in a bit of verbal jousting. However, both are good omens for spectators — the former might ensure a good fight and the latter is good fun.
Cheka added: “Jay (his coach) has put me on some crazy training regime. It is increasing my strength and power day by day. Sure Vijender must have won all his professional bouts but let’s not forget I have played 300 rounds and knocked down 17 of my opponents. He has no idea what he is going to face on the 17th of December.
“I am going to bring him down, like nobody’s business; I don’t think he thought before accepting my challenge. He has fought absolutely nobody up to now, I will show him what professional boxing means,” reiterated Cheka.
Vijender Singh, on the other hand has been away from the verbal action. For the time being, at least. He is currently training in Manchester for the fight, his last of this season. The boxer knows he is facing an experienced opponent and needs to be on top of his game, both tactically and physically, to win.