All-round experience will make a difference, says Vijender's trainer

Vijender Singh will be facing China’s Zulpikar Maimaitiali over 10 rounds.

WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight champion Vijender Singh and China’s no. 1 boxer and WBO Oriental Super Middleweight champion Zulpikar Maimaitiali (left) pose for photographs at the weigh-in and face-off of Battleground Asia, in Mumbai on Friday.   -  Vivek Bendre

Vijender Singh’s trainer Lee Beard feels that the Indian boxer's experience in pacing the bout is an advantage for his ward in the WBO super middleweight fight on Saturday night, billed as Battleground Asia.

Vijender will be facing China’s Zulpikar Maimaitiali over 10 rounds. Zulpikar's trainer Julian Howell is confident about the latter’s preparations. The two boxers went through the drama of an official weigh-in and eyed each other for cameras, with clenched fists. The punches will do the talking.

Beard said: “Vijender’s all-round experience will make the difference. He knows how to pace himself and use the boxing brain. Otherwise, an Olympic medal would not have happened. The Chinese fights at the same pace, we watched the videos. He is young and ambitious to defend his belt,” said the Indian’s trainer, about preparations at the training base in Manchester. Zulpikar’s trainer Howell said: “I am from England. I know Vijender’s trainers, sparring partners and the type of preparation which goes on. We have more information about Vijender, than he has on Zulpikar.”

 

The Indian weighed in at 76 kg, his rival at 75.9 kg (weight limit is 76.2 kg). Zulpikar’s subdued presence so far is in contrast with Vijender’s exuberance, prior to his first pro fight before a boxing audience in Mumbai. “I am hungry after fasting to keep the bodyweight within limits. I also had two sessions and am looking forward to eating after the weigh-in. You will feel the force behind my punches in the ring,” said the Indian, who will be defending his WBO Asia Pacific title. Zulpikar, who will be defending the WBO Oriental belt, will enter the ring outside China for the second time in his pro career (after Macau).

Saturday night's main fight, organised by IOS Boxing Promotions, will see the winner going home with both belts. Seven bouts are scheduled before the main show, building up hysteria for a bout between the Indian sensation and a 23-year-old Chinese eager to make his mark far away from home, in front of a partisan crowd.

Neeraj Goyat is another Indian in the spotlight, defending his WBC Asia welterweight title against Allan Tanada. Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar, both internationals will be making their pro debut. “Age does not matter, it depends on the mind,” said Akhil, who will be boxing in the junior welterweight category. Jitender is fighting in lightweight class.

Saturday's schedule before the main bout

Super Bantamweight (Larry Abwarra v Asad Asif).

Lightweight (Kuldeep Dhanda v Sachin Bhot).

Cruiserweight (Dharmendra Grewal v Isaac Slade).

Welterweight (Pardeep Kharera v Wanphichit Siriphana)

Lightweight (Jitender Kumar  v Thanet Likhitkamporn).

Junior Welterweight (Akhil Kumar v Ty Gilchrist).

Welterweight (Neeraj Goyat v Allan Tanada).