It’s like a new era of my life: Vijender

According to the Asian Games gold medallist, his life has now totally changed with no fellow Indian boxers in the dressing room, no Indian food and no friends.

Vijender Singh... 'I am really excited for my debut day (in pro circuit) and I am in shape."   -  PTI

Vijender Singh at a press conference in London after signing a multi-year promotional agreement with Queensberry Promotions.   -  PTI

Vijender Singh (right) with Lee Beard (left) during a press conference in New Delhi. The Indian boxer has been training for more than a month under Lee Beard in Manchester.   -  Sushil Kumar Verma

Vijender Singh poses with the gold medal he won in the men's 75 kg at the Asian Games in Guangzhou.   -  PTI

Indian boxing star Vijender Singh said that his transition from the amateur circuit to the professional arena is like entering a new era of his life.

The London Olympics medallist, who is all set to make his debut in the pro circuit, has been training for more than a month under globally acclaimed trainer Lee Beard in Manchester.

According to Vijender, his life has now totally changed with no fellow Indian boxers in the dressing room, no Indian food and no friends. “It’s altogether a different beginning of my life. I am really excited for m debut day (in pro circuit) and I am in shape, as I stayed for more than one month in this gym with trainers like Lee Beard and Haroon Headley,” Vijender said.

“My trainers are new, and it’s almost a month since I have been with them. I am the only Indian boxer training here. In amateur boxing, there were like 2-3 boxers with me in the changing room all the time, but right now, I am all alone with my trainers, so there is a difference. I just want to box hard that day,” he added.

With his professional debut scheduled for October 10, Vijender is training for eight to 10 hours a day. The 29-year-old boxer from Haryana admitted that the practice sessions are much tougher than what he was used to during his amateur days, but is confident of a winning start in the professional circuit.

“Professional training is really hard, but I love to do hard work in my life. There is nothing easy because everything has changed now – I was an amateur boxer but now I am turning pro, so everything will change slowly. But I am hard working, so I can do it,” Vijender remarked.

“It’s going to be amazing so just wait and watch. My aim is to make a winning start,” he added.

The former World No. 1 informed that he is enjoying the experience of learning new techniques from his trainers and sparring partners, and has already got used to the smaller gloves used in the professional circuit.

“I am learning new techniques every day from boxers like Jason, Andren and Jack, whom I follow. I see how they use different techniques so I just watch and learn from them,” Vijender said.

“I started using (smaller gloves) in sparring so many times and finished almost 10-15 sparring (sessions) last month, so there’s not a big difference as I am used to it,” added the former Asian Games champion.

A big boost from his idol

Ahead of his bout, Vijender received some much needed motivation as he met his childhood hero, multiple World champion Naseem Hamed, on the sidelines of the English Premier League clash between Arsenal and Manchester United.

Hamed, a former British boxer of Yemeni descent, is a former World Boxing Organisation (WBO), World Boxing Confederation (WBC) and International Boxing Federaion (IBF) champion across several weight categories. The duo met at the Emirates Stadium in London on Sunday.

The British boxing legend believes that Vijender can become just as big as the Filipino great, Manny Pacquiao.

Vijender later said that the support from Hamed was a major boost for him. “Naseem Hamed was massive, massive, influence on my career; he was my idol and the reason I got into boxing. He was awesome. Everything about him, the ring entrances, the knockout power, the entertainment, he was a superstar, everybody around the world watched him fight,” Vijender said.