Fighters never fear,” said Vijender Singh as he geared up for yet another marathon six-hour training session in Manchester, England, to prepare for next month’s bout. The bout, to be held on October 10, is special for the boxer – it will be the first of his professional boxing career. The outcome could have a bearing on his future in the circuit.
The boxer from Bhiwani, who will turn 30 next year, is eager to get things off the ground. “To be honest, I am quite excited about the debut. No nervousness. You can’t afford to be nervous in boxing, be it amateur or professional. Though at this point I don’t know who I will fight, I am eagerly waiting for it to happen. I am hopeful of getting my professional career off to a good start,” he told media.
Vijender’s maiden bout will be over four rounds. In future, he expects to fight bouts with more rounds. “Pro boxing is different from amateur boxing and I am getting used to it. I am preparing for larger bouts. But even for the four-round bout, I am working intensely on fitness, endurance and technique. It’s not an easy task. But you have to put in these hard hours in professional boxing. The focus to get going is helping me.”
Eyebrows were raised when Vijender turned professional, and though he may not say so in as many words, there is lingering bitterness following all the criticism. “Some people understood and supported my decision, but some didn’t. I have played three Olympics for India and have won a medal. When Amir Khan (British professional boxer) won a silver and turned pro, there was no hue and cry. People accepted his decision. And now he is doing well as a professional boxer.
“This is just the start of the professional life for me. I have a long way to go.There are not many Indians in professional boxing. I hope to inspire them. If I achieve success, everybody will appreciate me. If I don’t, I don’t mind, since I know at least I tried my best. I will keep doing the hard work. For me it has been quite a journey (from Bhiwani in Haryana to the top boxing club in Britain).”
Vijender thanked the Haryana government for allowing him to turn professional and added that Indian boxing would do well to set its house in order. “Things must improve in India. There’s no federation and no authority running the show. Two-three persons are managing things. That’s not good for the sport.”
Vijender, who started aspiring for a career in professional boxing way back in 2008, just before the Beijing Olympics, said his eventual goal was to win a world title. “I will keep working hard. I will never sit back and live on my past achievements. My ultimate goal is to win a world title. I will give my best for that.”