Vijender: India can have a World Champion in a decade

"You are your main competitor. You have to first fight with yourself and win. You are your biggest enemy in boxing. If you are able to overcome your fears, the battle is half won. The opponents and training come next,” says Vijender Singh.

"People like pro-boxing. We have had a tremendous response in New Delhi and Mumbai so far and I am sure Jaipur will follow suit," says Vijender.   -  PTI

Although just under two years in professional boxing, ace Indian pugilist Vijender Singh is confident of securing another win under his belt when he faces Ghana's Ernest Amuzu on December 23, with both his reputation of being undefeated (he has participated in nine bouts and has won all of them) and his WBO Asia Pacific and Oriental Super Middleweight titles on the line.

The 32-year-old sounded extremely poised and confident ahead of the bout. “The fight is late next week. I am enjoying as well as training hard,” he said.

With Amuzu getting to a war of words, a tactic frequently used by opponents in an aim to unsettle the nerves, Vijender said he is way beyond for it to have an effect on him. “It happens every time. I am now used to not bothering about it. I am experienced to handle these things and it is training that takes priority at this point of time,” he said.

Vijender said pro-boxing is still in its infancy in the country and added that it wouldn't be long before a world champion is unearthed from India. “It is very early days for pro-boxing in India. As a career, we have many boxers taking it up and the change is welcome. We have two-three boxers who go to Australia, Philippines and Thailand etc. for fights. It is a good start, in my opinion, especially when our boxers who are professionals are just about three years old in their careers. Going by how the response is, I am sure we can have a World Champion in about a decade's time,” he explained.

Commenting further, Vijender said, “People like pro-boxing. We have had a tremendous response in New Delhi and Mumbai so far and I am sure Jaipur (where Vijender takes on Amuzu) will follow suit. As long as people love it, the sport is sure to grow.”

The ace pugilist said the secret of success in the professional circuit is simple. “It is all about overcoming oneself. You are your main competitor. You have to first fight with yourself and win. You are your biggest enemy in boxing. If you are able to overcome your fears, the battle is half won. The opponents and training come next,” Vijender added.

Does the popularity of professional boxing remain the same after moving from heavyweight to lighter weights? Vijender says it is the converse. “It is all about superstars and fame. Our people love winners. We had Muhammed Ali and now we have the likes of Floyd Mayweather and McGregor. The system keeps changing and people will follow superstars. If lighter weights can produce the next superstar, that will be in vogue,” he noted.

Billed as controversy's favourite child, Vijender said it has only made him a better person. “In my opinion, controversies are good for a sportsperson. The setbacks have surely made me a better person. I am now mature enough to understand what is right and what is wrong and people also now understand the same. It has also improved my mindset over things and has made me a stronger person,” he concluded.