Vijender Singh faces ‘Chinese product’ Zulpikar Maimaitiali in Mumbai Big Bash
Vijender Singh is set to take on Zulpikar Maimaitiali in what is set to be a double title boxing bout in Mumbai.Updated: Aug 04, 2017, 22:44 IST
The war of words had been going on for quite some time between India’s star boxer Vijender Singh and China’s Zulpikar Maimaitiali.
However, a day before the big fight here, both seemed relaxed, focusing instead on the battle within the ring. There were no sparks as the duo came on stage for the weigh-in session. It was followed by a customary handshake and smiles.
It will be a double title fight on Saturday, with both the pugilists entering the ring as champions of their respective titles. Vijender holds the WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight belt while Maimaitiali is the current WBO Oriental Super Middleweight champion.
Apart from titles on the line, it’s also the unbeaten streak that’s at stake for both the boxers who are yet to face defeat in their professional career.
Vijender seemed unperturbed. “I’m going to have a hearty meal honestly. Because of the fight, I had to keep a tab on my weight. It was around 78kg last night and I had to lose two kilos. I didn’t eat anything and did two training sessions. And today my weight is down to 76. I’m very confident and I hope it turns out to be a good fight and we win it at the end of the day,” said the 31-year-old.
This is Vijender’s first bout since beating Tanzanian Francis Cheka via technical knockout in December last year. “I plan my moves according to how my opponent performs. We’ve worked a lot on the technique. My trainer Lee Beard is also here with me,” Vijender added.
Maimaitiali, a southpaw, has 27 rounds under his belt and is eight years younger to Vijender. Beard feels that is going to be a significant factor on Saturday.
“He knows how to handle pre-match nerves and is confident. But I feel Vijender’s experience is going to be the key difference. He’s an Olympian, knows how to break his fights between a four-round fight and a championship fight. He’ll have a better understanding,” Beard said.
The Englishman went on to justify Vijender’s outlook. “He’s relaxing now since all the hard work is done and you don’t want to be doing the energy burning exercises since all that energy is now required only for one thing,” he added.
Complimenting Vijender for being patient during the training sessions, Beard said it’s easier to condition the pugilist since he understands his game and doesn’t rush during crucial situations.
Vijender, too, sounded confident before he wrapped up the media interaction. On being asked if reducing his weight drastically overnight would have an impact, Vijender said: “I’ve done this a number of times before. This is my job. When I train, my weight is around 82-83kg but before the fight I ensure it comes down to 76. It’s not an issue really. And regarding the power, well, you will feel the punches tomorrow!”
Olympians Jitender Kumar and Akhil Kumar too will start their pro-boxing career at Battleground Asia on Saturday and will take on Thanet Likhitkamporn and Ty Gilchrist respectively.