Vijender Singh counter punches Francis Cheka, says will put him ‘in his place’

Currently preparing at his base in Manchester with trainer Lee Beard, Vijender Singh warned that the Tanzanian Francis Cheka was in for a surprise, even an early knockout.

other sports Updated: Dec 02, 2016 18:43 IST
Vijender Singh,Francis Cheka,Boxing
Vijender Singh will defend his WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight belt against Francis Cheka in New Delhi on December 17.(Getty Images)

Vijender Singh unleashed verbal punches on Friday ahead of his biggest challenge in a nascent professional boxing career, the defence of his WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight belt against Francis Cheka here on December 17.

The Tanzanian Intercontinental Super Middleweight champion threatened to pummel Vijender to pulp and end his career featuring victories in all his seven bouts, six of them knockouts or technical KOs.

Vijender, the 2008 Beijing Olympics middleweight bronze medallist, won this belt by defeating Australia’s Kerry Hope in Delhi in July. He will look to ride on home support at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex here.

Currently preparing at his base in Manchester with trainer Lee Beard, Vijender warned that the Tanzanian was in for a surprise, even an early knockout. “I’ve to win and win in good fashion, so that means a knockout,” the 30-year-old said.

“I don’t know how far he is willing to go, how much (punishment) he is willing to take. I am very well aware of the kind of challenge that lies ahead of me. Cheka is very experienced, but I am also putting in double the effort.

“Lee and I have a perfect game plan in place to make sure I have an answer to every punch, every hit Cheka throws at me.”

The focus of Vijender’s training in the last two months has been to build stamina and punching power, with 8-10 hour sessions including sparring with top British boxers.

Facial treatment

Cheka’s camp has said he is doing 40-round workouts for the bout. “I will hit Vijender hard on his face, he will never think of professional boxing again,” Cheka had said with his trainer, Jay Msangi, adding that nothing will be left to chance despite his ward being far more experienced.

Cheka has fought 43 bouts with 32 wins, 17 of them knockouts. Only Vijender’s last bout was not a knockout, the eight-round affair against Hope going the distance before the Indian won by unanimous decision.

Vijender was confident he can take charge early. “He is going to have the answers in the first 2-3 rounds. Cheka thinks he is fighting nobody. I have just started my professional boxing career and I already have six knockouts, (but) it’s not that easy to get all the wins in one go.

“I will show Cheka his place. He can’t come to my country and challenge me for my own title. I think he doesn’t know about me very well.”

Beard said: “I’ve put Vijender on a high intensity workout since this is the first time he is fighting a world champion boxer… he needs to step up to that level.

“Cheka is a very experience operator, who has been involved in some big fights, so his fighting Vijender in India won’t faze him. I have made a combination of exercises and sparring for Vijender to increase his stamina along with making his punches stronger. I believe Vijender is going to perform very well on the night and produce another great display showing how smart he is as a fighter and he will win in style.”

Vijender is No 10 in the WBO world rankings, though his early rivals were not serious contenders.

The Indian’s strong technical base, from a very successful and long amateur career (he was the world No 1 middleweight in 2008-09), has helped him stay a cut above his opponents so far.

First Published: Dec 02, 2016 17:51 IST