Tyson fan Zulpikar hopes for peaceful win

The August 5 pro fight, organised by IOS Promotions, against Vijender Singh, who holds the WBO Asia Pacific belt is unique. The winner will take home both WBO belts.

Zulpikar: 'I believe I can win the bout and take both titles with me to China'   -  ARUNANGSU ROY CHOWDHURY

Zulpikar Maimaitali, 23, slated to face-off with older and more experienced Vijender Singh, 31, for a "winner takes all" WBO super middleweight bout, opened up about his targets and thoughts in professional boxing. Excerpts from a chat (via an interpreter) with the Chinese southpaw, the reigning WBO Oriental champion.

The August 5 pro fight, organised by IOS Promotions, against the Indian holding the WBO Asia Pacific belt is unique. The winner will take home both WBO belts:

Q: As a pro boxer, have you fought in a situation before when two WBO super middleweight belts are involved? Does it add to the motivation?

A: This is the first time I am fighting for two belts. I believe I can win the bout and take both titles with me to China. Boxing to me is the most important thing. I began learning at three and it has been 20 years in the ring now.

Q: Do you prepare in China under Chinese coach/trainer and Chinese sparring partners?  His rival (Vijender) will be preparing in Manchester under personal trainer Lee Beard?

A: I will be training in Shanghai under long-time female world champion Michele Oboro (WBF super bantamweight women’s champion, born in London and of Nigerian descent). It is not convenient  to reveal more information about preparation, except that I am training according to my schedule.

Q: August 5 will be your first pro fight in India in front of Vijender Singh fans. Is there extra motivation to silence home support for your opponent by winning?

A: I just want to win the bout peacefully. It will be the best way to do it. I don’t care about the crowd and other factors.

Q: As a young boxer, did you have a role model in the sport, a champion from China or elsewhere? Explain why?

A: The first figure he looked up to was his father, who is also his coach. The second is Mike Tyson, he always kills people (in the ring).

Q: Have you met Mike Tyson personally or admired him fighting on television?

A: So far only on television. I wanted to meet Tyson and got a chance when Chinese boxers went to America, but visa problems denied me the chance to travel.

Q: Mike Tyson was an Olympic champion who went on to turn pro. With AIBA opening up Olympic boxing for professionals, do you plan to fight for medals at Tokyo 2020 Olympics?

A: Amateur and pro boxing are similar, but there are differences. Amateur bouts last three minutes, three rounds and for many days consecutively. Pro boxing is quite different in these aspects Fighting at the Olympics depends on many factors, I am not ruling out the chance to step into the ring at Tokyo in 2020.

Q: You mentioned starting at the age of three. Can you elaborate about your boxing background?

A: I grew up in a strong boxing atmosphere, even watched my father coaching others. The first time I was allowed to enter the ring was when I was 10 for formal training.

Q: Is China pro boxing ready to shake up the world, similar to the way Chinese Super League has done for football?

A: Boxing became popular in China five years ago. Hopefully one day China will become one of the top boxing venues, like Las Vegas and Macau, which helped Manny Pacquaio’s  pro boxing career.

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