Vijender Singh wants to lift India's mood after World Cup exit

Updated: Jul 15, 2019, 08:50 IST | Ashwin Ferro

Boxer Vijender Singh hopes his win over Mike Snider on Saturday can bring some joy to Indians still reeling under the World Cup cricket exit

Vijender Singh wants to lift India's mood after World Cup exit
Vijender Singh (right) punches USA's Mike Snider during their pro fight on Saturday

India's superstar boxer Vijender Singh put up a smashing show in his maiden fight in the USA on Saturday night, beating local hero Mike Snider via technical knockout at the Prudential Centre in Newark, New Jersey.

The 2008 Beijing Olympic bronze medal-winning Indian cornered the American in Round 4 with a flurry of combination punches, forcing the referee to intervene and signal a premature end to the eight-rounder.

Vijender hoped his win would wipe away the disappointment and bring a smile across the faces of Indian fans world over, many of whom are disappointed after the cricket team's World Cup semi-final defeat to New Zealand.

"It's always about winning for India and Indian fans who are so passionate. Here, they filled the stadium, arriving from California, Washington, New York and other parts of the US. It was a great atmosphere and I'm glad I could perform on my US debut. I hope my win can reduce some of their sadness after the recent cricket defeat," Vijender told mid-day moments after his thundering win.

However, it wasn't as easy as it seemed. "Snider may not be the quickest guy in the ring but he's a hard puncher. In Round One, he punched me on the head and that's when I felt his power. I instantly smiled because I didn't want him to know that he has hurt me, but that start helped me set the tone for the rest of the fight. In the remainder of the first round, I stayed away from his range. Then, in Round 2 and 3, I closed in on him and got in a few punches. And in Round 4,
I finished it off," explained Vijender, who will be returning home to New Delhi soon for a short break before heading back to training in the UK for two more fights scheduled later this year in America.

The victory ensured Vijender remained unbeaten on the professional circuit with 11 wins, including eight knockouts. When asked if he would have preferred to win this one too by knockout, the soft-spoken pro fighter simply said: "It does not matter if I win with the opponent lying on the floor or with the referee stopping the fight while the opponent is on his feet. I just want to win. That's it."

Snider meanwhile, conceded that the Indian was too good for him. "Vijender is a good boxer. I underestimated his experience and technique. I never thought I'd lose to him in the early rounds," he said.

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