I won't go looking for a knockout: Vijender Singh
India's Vijender Singh, in his own admission, is a bundle of nerves ahead of his professional boxing debut on October 10 in Manchester, England, against Sonny Whiting. But nerves is nothing new for the Beijing Olympic bronze medalist.
Vijender Singh at London's Cinnamon Club in June. Pic/Getty Images
"I was a lot more nervous in the changing room before my Beijing Olympics semi-final bout. I was also very nervous before my Guangzhou Asian Games gold medal fight. I won medals at both events, so I hope I can repeat that success next weekend," Vijender told mid-day from Manchester yesterday where he is working with the world-renowned trainer Lee Beard. The fight night is titled World War-III.
Vijender is India's most decorated amateur boxer with medals at the 2006, 2010, and 2014 Commonwealth Games, the 2006 and 2010 Asian Games, 2009 World Amateur Championships besides the 2008 Beijing Olympics. However, the last three months, since he announced his move to professional boxing, has been both emotionally as well as physically draining for the 29-year-old. "Daily training begins around 10:30am and it just doesn't end," said the Haryanvi with a hint of a laugh.
Exhaustive, but fun
"But, my trainer Beard is world-class and ensures that I don't get exhausted due to boredom, so there's swimming, running, sparring all mixed up on different days. I have sparred with quite a few top boxers including a couple of WBO champions, so I'm 100 per cent ready for my fight," added Vijender.
Vijender's fight will comprise four rounds as opposed to three in his amateur fights, so will his strategy change too? "My strategy will remain much the same, as in, I will take my time to work out my opponent. There will be punches exchanged — he will hit me and I will hit him — but most importantly I will look to study him early and work my way around the fight for four rounds. I won't go looking for the knockout punch, if it comes, so be it."
Taking on Whiting
Meanwhile, Vijender's opponent Whiting has three professional bouts under his belt with two wins and a loss. He is not looked upon as a favourite to win though and is being seen as a mere stepping stone for Vijender's success. However, Englishman doesn't think so. "I hear Singh is a superstar in India. I'll be looking to send a brutal message back to his home when I beat him," he said recently. Vijender meanwhile, is quietly confident. "aan do, dekh lengay (let him come, we'll see)," he signed off.