Trailblazing Indian boxing prospect Vijender Singh will make his first defence of his newly acquired WBO Asia pacific super middleweight title at the Thyagaraj Stadium in New Dehli on 17th December in front of a partisan home support.
Just seven fights into his pro career and the unbeaten Indian has broken through into the top ten of the WBO rankings. His seven wins so far have included six knockouts and for the first time ever India has a fighter who may just be capable of competing for world honours in the professional game.
With the highlight reel knockouts the V-bomber has generated a large amount of hype but underpinning the hype is a substantial wealth of top calibre amateur experience.
For those fans who follow amateurs boxing he has not come out of the blue. At 31 years of age he has accumulated an impressive list of honours over ten plus years. These achievements include a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing which firmly put him in the history books as the first Indian boxer to ever win an Olympic medal. He’s also won an Asian Games Gold medal back in 2010 and more recently he clinched silver at the Commonwealth games in Glasgow 2014.
His impressive amateur career included wins over fellow unbeaten professionals Terrel Gausha (19W 0L) and Mayweather Promotions sensations Ronald Gavril (17W 1L) and WBC world super-middleweight champion Badou Jack.
Of course the pro game is different to the amateurs in may aspects but amateur quality is rarely a bad indicator of a boxers potential. With this pedigree behind him he and his team will be keen to kick along as quickly as possible in the paid ranks.
In many ways Singh’s success is boxing’s success. If he can continue to win it will help grow the sport in unchartered territory. He is already a very popular figure having starred in a Bollywood film which only broadens his appeal.
Promoted by Francis warren and trained by Lee Beard in Manchester, England, he is learning the trade in the right place. It is a very smart move to base his training in the UK as he will be getting the world class training and sparring necessary to prepare for world level opposition.
He overcame former European middlewight champion Kerry Hope in his last outing which was his first real test. However Hope only has 2 KO wins to his name from his 23 pro wins. He’s not a big puncher so was a safe option.
After seeing the fight, he really needs to develop his jab a lot more and put some snap into it. At times it was non existent against Hope. Also he needs to develop his fitness for the full twelve as he looked very tired after the ten rounds. These will be tested by the better men in the division.
However, he possesses heavy hands and his right hand in particular has proved to be his best weapon. He likes to keep his feet planted to give him that base for throwing power shots.
For his 8th fight he has been matched against the determined Tanzanian veteran Francis Cheka who boasts a record of 32W 9L 2D.
Cheka is no pushover. He managed to last the full distance with Liverpool’s Paul Smith when he was an undefeated fighter as well as Matthew Macklin; two very good fighters who have mixed at the top. The veteran has been eager to point out that Vijender hasn’t yet fought anyone of note and has vowed to put an end to the hype.
However Singh is fighting for more than just himself and that makes him a very dangerous man. He is the pioneer for Indian boxing carrying the hopes of the nation on his shoulders. Never before has India had a man who has the potential to achieve great things within the professional boxing.