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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

Vijender Singh focused on regional belts, says global title can wait

Vijender Singh, who is currently WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight champion, has said his focus is on winning the regional belt and is aiming to sustain his unbeaten professional streak when he takes on Zulpikar Maimaitiali

other-sports Updated: Jul 31, 2017 18:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Vijender Singh has remained unbeaten in his eight professional bouts so far and his next fight will be against Zulpikar Maimaitiali.
Vijender Singh has remained unbeaten in his eight professional bouts so far and his next fight will be against Zulpikar Maimaitiali.(Getty Images)

India’s star professional boxer Vijender Singh said his graduation to global competition will take time. “It will depend on a lot of factors, including right opportunity. I don’t want to rush as I believe in slow and steady. I will give (it) a thought after competing in a couple of more area competitions. Maybe, it happens next year or sometime in 2019,” said Vijender.

Olympic bronze-medallist Vijender said on the sidelines of a promotional event on Monday that the focus at the moment “is on the regional belt”.

His next opponent is China’s 23-year-old left-hander Zulpikar Maimaitiali.

The Indian is currently the WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight champion, while his Chinese opponent is WBO Oriental Super Middleweight champion. The weekend bout on August 5 will be a double-title fight.

On his Chinese opponent, who is nine years younger to him, Vijender said, “Age is no bar. It all depends on the winning attitude and hard punches when you enter the ring. It’s all about opportunity and taking the right steps. If you miss, you are gone.”

Vijender, who began his pro career in 2015, has remained unbeaten so far. Of the eight bouts, he has seven knockout wins. On papers, the Indian looks stronger. His Chinese rival has six knockout wins, and one draw from eight bouts on the circuit.

Vijender’s last knockout win was against Francis Cheka of Tanzania. He exuded confidence of another knockout win. “Haven’t read much about my opponent, but my coaching staff has kept a track of him. Whatever they (trainer) advice me I follow that,” he added.

After his title defence in December, Vijender was supposed to contest in April, but he snapped ties with his British promoters, which delayed his next fight. However, he denied the lack of promoters made much difference.

“There wasn’t any frustration over not getting back in the ring. I’m training hard and if any promoter wants me to fight, I am ready,” he said.

But, right now the focus, he said, was on maintaining the right balance between body and mind. “For the weekend fight, I am not profusely sweating but just polishing my skills and trying to control my weight. Above all, it’s time to stay calm,” he added.

First Published: Jul 31, 2017 18:57 IST