Vijender targets Asian title bout in 6 months time

Star Indian boxer Vijender Singh is eyeing an Asian title bout in the next six months.

Vijender Singh and Dean Gillen during their middleweight bout.   -  Getty Images

With a rollicking start to his professional career achieved, star Indian boxer Vijender Singh is now eyeing an Asian title bout in the next six months, besides a contest on home turf here between March and April.

The 30-year-old former Olympic and World Championships bronze-medallist is on his first trip to India after turning professional by signing up with Queensberry Promotions in the UK. The Haryana-lad won both the contests he fought in the last couple of months, notching up impressive knockout wins, the latest coming in less than three minutes.

“It’s not at all as easy as it looked on TV. I trained for hours and hours amid people I did not know. There is hardly any social circle there for me. I led a particular life for 15-20 years in the amateur level, all that has suddenly changed and it’s not easy making the adjustments,” said Vijender.

“I can say a part of the tough phase is over and some more is left before I become fully comfortable with the set-up. However, I am a tough guy and will get over it. I am adapting pretty quickly. My trainer (Lee Beard) is a fantastic guy and we have developed a good relationship,” he added.

Spelling out his plans going forward, Vijender said he would not make a rush for a title bout just yet and wait for six months to get a stronghold in the circuit.

“Right now I am fighting four-round contests, I will gradually move ahead and increase the rounds to six and 10 and challenge for the Asian title in six months time, because a title bout cannot be four rounds,” said the middleweight boxer, whose next bout is scheduled for December 19 in Manchester against a yet-to-be-named opponent.

“Before that, I want to fight on home turf in front of my people. Hopefully my fourth or fifth bout would be in India, in Delhi may be,” he added.

His India promoters Infinity Optimal Solutions (IOS) CEO Neerav Tomar confirmed that an Asian title bout would be on cards for Vijender in six months’ time. “We are targetting an Asian title bout for him in the next six months and may be a world title bout in one year’s time. Before that, we are planning a bout for him in March-April in Delhi,” he said.

“He can’t just go and challenge for a world title fight right away, he has to have good rankings and his rival also has to agree. So it will take at least a year before he reaches that stature,” he added.

Vijender, a former world number one in the amateur circuit, said the two pro rivals he faced so far, Sonny Whiting and Dean Gillen, were not as easily beatable as they seemed. “My debut opponent, Sonny Whiting, was a tough one. I pulled off a Technical Knockout but it was a struggle for me,” he recalled.

Not among the most talkative sportspersons, Vijender said the outside-the-ring showmanship of professional boxing has also been tough to deal with. “I don’t open up very easily, I am not outspoken and I am in a circuit, where people talk big, and make tall claims. It’s funny but I prefer to shut my mind off it. I say a few things when asked but I am not very comfortable talking too much,” he said.

“Moreover, it’s hard to pick those guys’ (foreign rivals) accent and they can’t understand a word if I get down to speaking in Hindi. So it doesn’t affect me when they talk big,” he added with a smile.

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