Vijender Singh marks return to ring with fight scheduled in Goa Casino ship
It will be a different experience for Vijender Singh when he returns to professional boxing in Goa on March 19 for his first fight in 16 months. There will be no Lee Beard at his corner. The British boxing trainer, who has been guiding Vijender since the start of his professional career in 2015, could not travel to India because of Covid restrictions. Vijender, therefore, requested his friend Jai Bhagwan, who represented India at the London Olympics, to train him. They are also taking Lee’s suggestions. Vijender started his training in January and has been sparring with Indian boxers.
“I am training under my friend Jai Bhagwan. He is my coach and we have sparring partners from Faridabad, Gurgaon, Bhiwani, Jhajjar. They are amateurs but preparing me well. I have done five to six sparring sessions so far and will be ready by the time of fight,” he said.
“Jai Bhagwan knows my boxing, he can tell me the areas I need to work on. I am very comfortable with him. He is making me do heavy training. I have trained under Lee since 2015 but he could not come and we cannot go out to train. We are taking his advice. I also have experience of how to train and fight, so it’s like all of us are pitching in."
The backdrop of the fight will be equally novel for Vijender. The fight, with an opponent who is yet to be named, will take place on the rooftop deck of a casino ship docked on the Mandovi river in Panaji, Goa.
“I am told that it is happening for the first time in India," Vijender said. "I am sure people will like it. My last fight in Goa was in 2003 in my amateur career. It’s a beautiful place. I keep going there on family vacations and even to escape the Delhi pollution.”
Vijender said it was a challenging time for him last year. “My wife and baby had corona. It was a difficult time for the family. Thank God, everyone is safe and secure. Now things are back on track and I am looking forward to the fight."
Though Vijender was keeping himself fit during the lockdown, the start of training after a long gap was difficult. “When you start after such a long time it is always difficult. In the first few sparring sessions, I had cuts. I was bleeding. But then the body has come to the zone now. I am feeling much better and confident that I will be able to maintain my undefeated record.”
Vijender, who has a 12-0 record competing in middleweight and super middleweight classes, says every fight is like his first. “I take the ring thinking it is my first fight. Before the fight there is so much of strategizing, but once you enter the ring it is all about the two boxers in the rings and about winning.”
Professional boxing has given him more freedom to express himself in the ring.
“You are the boss," he said. "It’s not like in amateur (boxing) that you have to wait for an Olympics or Asian Games in four years. You want to fight someone, just go out there and fight him.”This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.