India's numero uno boxer is now the world's top ranked pugilist. Olympic bronze-medallist Vijender Singh became the first Indian boxer to be ranked No. 1 in the world in the latest international federation (AIBA) ranking released recently.
The Bhiwani boxer, who was world No. 2 before the World Championships in Milan where he won bronze in the 75kg category, has grossed 2700 points.
Beijing Olympic Games silver-medallist Emilio Correa Bayeux of Cuba, who earlier held the top spot, slipped to No. 2 after skipping the Worlds. World champion Abbos Atoev of Uzbekistan, who defeated Vijender in the semifinals, moved to third spot.
“It will motivate me to do better,” said Vijender. “Of late, Indian boxing is achieving new heights and I am proud that I have taken my country to the top of the world rankings.”
World Championship quarterfinalist Dinesh Kumar held on to his sixth position in the 81kg category. Thokchom Nanao Singh slipped three places to eighth in the 48kg category. Olympian Akhil Kumar has gone down a rung to 10th in the 57kg category.
Vijender felt his ranking would help motivate youngsters to take up sport. The champion boxer was critical of Jharkhand National Games organisers’ decision to make Bollywood stars, Katrina Kaif and Akshay Kumar, as brand ambassadors for the November 21-December 5 event. "It would have been better if some sportsperson was made brand ambassador of the Games," said Vijender.
"It's the country's biggest sporting event and it would have been better if the country's sportspersons had been given priority," said the boxer from Haryana. "That would have motivated youngsters to take up sport."