Organisers of Fight Night say star attraction Vijender Singh won't be participating this Sunday, even though the boxer is ready for battle
A day after MiD DAY reported that Vijender Singh, who recently snubbed the World Series Boxing, had no qualms over participating in the Fight Night, the organisers of the event announced yesterday that the star boxer will not be fighting in Sunday's event at Pune's Balewadi Sports Complex.
Indian boxing ace Vijender Singh.
In fact, Vijender too had confirmed to MiD DAY yesterday that he was "fully fit and raring to go" against the five-member Australian team that will take on a five-man Indian team this Sunday. Organisers Percept however yesterday revealed their change of plan. "Vijender will not be fighting on Sunday. He is the chief guest for the event," Percept boss Shailendra Singh told MiD DAY.
This however, was in stark contrast of a Fight Night press release sent out two days ago which stated: "Eminent boxers from India -- Chhote Lal Yadav, Vikas Khatri, Jai Singh Patil, Balwinder Singh Beniwal, Manpreet Singh, Vijender Singh, Jai Bhagwan and Dilbagh Singh & Manpreet will battle it out with Australian boxers -- Andrew Malooney, Valentine Borg, Luke Jackson, Jake Carr, Joseph Godall."
Amazingly, the boxer himself is unsure of what's going on. "I was told that I will be fighting and I'm ready for it. But now I believe they would rather have me rest, keeping in mind my preparation for the all-important Olympic Qualifiers in Astana in March," Vijender told MiD DAY.
The truth of the matter though could well be that members of the Indian boxing fraternity are not too happy about their star Middleweight fighter taking part in a private tournament so close to the Olympic Qualifiers.
MiD DAY yesterday also reported how Vijender was given a scare at the inaugural Fight Night last year when a couple of hard punches from English boxer Frank Buglioni led to his nose bleeding.
"Vijender is India's only Olympic (2008, Beijing) bronze medal winner, besides having won gold at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou too. Being India's topmost boxer, he is already under enough pressure to qualify for the London Games in August next year considering he has just one final chance to do so in the form of the Asian Qualifier tournament in March. He can't afford any distraction at this stage.
He realises this, and I'm sure so do the organisers of the Fight Night and that's the reason he isn't fighting on Sunday," said one boxer, close to Vijender. Another message for Shailendra Singh summed up the incident: "Vijender is preparing for the Olympic Qualifiers. Besides, Indian boxing is blessed with many medal winners, which is good for the sport. We should not put pressure on Vijender like we have done for Bhaichung Bhutia in football."