‘Vijender Singh is underestimating Zulpikar Maimaitiali’

Indian boxer Vijender Singh will take on China’s Zulpikar Maimaitiali in Mumbai on August 5.

other sports Updated: Aug 03, 2017 20:38 IST
Vijender Singh,Zulpikar Maimaitiali,boxing
Indian boxer and WBO Asia-Pacific Super Middleweight champion Vijender Singh at a training session in Mumbai ahead of his fight against China's Zulpikar Maimaitiali.(AP)

Vijender Singh, who had called Zulpikar Maimaitiali inexperienced, may not know as much about his opponent as he claims, according to Zulpikar’s trainer Julian Howell.

“I’ve had good insight into Vijender’s career. I know he’s fought in Manchester, I know his sparring partners. I know quite a bit about him. But I don’t think he knows as much as he thinks about Zuli. Zuli is a fresh opponent,” said Howell, who has been training Zulpikar since March.

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The 23-year-old Chinese boxer has won eight of his nine professional bouts while a 31-year-old Vijender has remained undefeated in his eight bouts. Howell, however, pegged this match-up as an equal contest with the venue being Vijender’s only advantage.

“As boxers turn professional, their styles change, rules are different; the crowd makes you feel different. We consider this one as a level-playing field and the only advantage Vijender has is fighting on home ground,” said Howell who has a five-year plan in place to ensure Zulpikar’s elevation to his potential.

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Zulpikar, the WBO Oriental Super Middleweight champion, however was humble in his approach. He believes facing quality boxers like Vijender will help him develop.

“I will meet much tougher opponents in the future. Vijender is one of them. I can discover the true extent of my abilities only by fighting good boxers like him,” said Zulpikar.

“If I win the bout, I’ll trounce the ‘Hero of India’. It will be an honour to go back to China victorious. China is a fast developing country but professional boxing in China is in its initial stages like in India, so fighting a bout of such calibre will be beneficial to Chinese boxing,” revealed China’s No.1 boxer.

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Vijender had said on Wednesday that tension between the two nations will spice up the bout. Zulpikar, however, feels political issues must be kept away from sport.

“I think sport is sport, politics is politics and military is military. This is a professional fight between Vijender and me and I don’t think it should be taken in any other context,” Zulpikar said.

First Published: Aug 03, 2017 20:38 IST