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Sunday, Aug 25, 2019

Vijender Singh confident of winning WBO title bout vs Zulpikar Maimaitiali

Vijender Singh could add the WBO Oriental Super Middleweight title to his WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight belt if he beats Zulpikar Maimaitiali on August 5

other-sports Updated: Jun 27, 2017 19:24 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
VijenderSingh will face Zulpikar Maimaitiali in the bout slated for August 5.
VijenderSingh will face Zulpikar Maimaitiali in the bout slated for August 5.(HT Photo)

India’s boxing sensation Vijender Singh on Tuesday said that he was confident of winning his next bout against WBO Oriental Super Middleweight champion Zulpikar Maimaitiali, although his last professional fight was way back in December last year.

The fight, slated to be fought on August 5 at battleground Asia, will also feature six other Indians in various categories — Akhil Kumar (junior welterweight 63 kg), Jitender Kumar (lightweight 61kg), Neeraj Goyat (welterweight 66 kg), Kuldeep Dhanda (lightweight 61kg), Pardeep Karera (welterweight 66kg) and Dharmendar Grewal (cruiserweight 89kg).

Singh, the reigning WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight champion, had defeated Tanzanian Francis Cheka last year in New Delhi to defend his title. It will be a double title fight in August with both Singh and Maimaitiali challengers and champions, and the winner would have both the titles to his name.

READ | Vijender Singh vs Zulpikar Maimaitiali’s pro boxing bout gets WBO sanction

While addressing the media on Tuesday, Singh said: “This fight was initially scheduled in March but then it got delayed to July and now has been fixed on August 5. However, after my last fight, I didn’t know all of this and kept on training. I was preparing for a bout in three months’ time and thus, although it kept getting delayed, I never stopped training.”

Singh is unbeaten since turning pro and has won eight matches, of which seven have been through knock-outs. Although he is senior to his opponent, but in terms of experience, the 22-year-old is not too far behind and has 24 rounds under his belt, six short of Singh’s tally.

Zulpikar had turned pro back in 2015 and has also fought eight matches, having won five of them through knockouts. He, too, is unbeaten and thus, apart from the title, even the streak will be at stake.

READ | Vijender Singh terminates agreement with Queensberry Promotions

“All that I know is that he’s Chinese, and young and a southpaw,” Singh added when asked on how well he had been preparing for his opponent. “He’s won some title. Ok, fine. But he’s very young and I was actually laughing when I heard him say he’ll knock me out. I’ll answer him in the ring when I meet him.”

With Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar also making their professional debuts at Battleground Asia, it will be the first time the trio of Akhil-Vijender and Jitender will be seen together in the ring since the Beijing Olympics. Both Akhil and Jitender had turned professional in December last year. “Amateur boxers learn from professional boxers. Be it technique, footwork or anything. That’s what makes amateur boxers improve,” Jitender later said at the sidelines of the press conference.

“I wanted to turn pro since 2008 but then my mind got diverted in various other things. I’m also a DSP in Haryana Police and I started focussing on my job. Also, my coach asked me to focus on what I was then and I had reached the quarterfinals (of Beijing Olympics). He told me that if I was good enough or could maintain my standards then I would anyway be approached by organisers of Pro-boxing,” Jitender added.

First Published: Jun 27, 2017 19:20 IST

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