Indian boxing star Vijender Singh will look to clinch his second title and keep his unbeaten record intact when he takes on undefeated Chinese Zulpikar Maimaitiali on Saturday.
The 31-year-old former Olympic bronze-medallist will be fighting his ninth professional fight tomorrow and on the line would be his WBO Asia Pacific super middleweight title.
Maimaitiali's WBO Oriental super middleweight title would also be up for grabs in the double title fight.
Vijender has been training in Manchester with his trainer Lee Beard for this bout, the first ticket of which was presented to cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar at the latter's house by the boxer himself.
A confident Vijender has dubbed his Chinese opponent as inexperienced.
"This is India versus China, I don't need anything and I am excited, I know the whole of India is with me," Vijender said at the weigh-in on Saturday.
"I am very confident and hope that the fight will be good and India will win. last night I checked my weight it was 78 and I had to be 76.2, so I did not eat anything. My weight is 76.00 today, I will very much focus on diet," he told reporters here today.
The Indian said his strategy would be responsive to how his opponent maneuvers the bout.
"My strategy will depend on how he plays, I will set my game according to him. We have changed a lot in technique and we have worked on it," he said.
Aug 5, 2017 10:19 pm (IST)
That's it, its all over, Vijender Singh has won! It was a very close battle - 96-93, 95-94, 95-94 - these are the three judges scores! Vijender is now the WBO Middleweight Champion as well as the WBO Oriental Super Middle-Weight Championship! Superb boxing from the Indian, but commisserations to the Chinese, who fought his heart out there!
Aug 5, 2017 10:13 pm (IST)
Vijender Singh clearly on the defense there, he is trying to kill time by roaming around the ring, Zulfikar clearly on the attack for now. He will be hoping the judges come to his rescue, let's see which way this one goes! Remember Zulfikar has a point deduction for low blow! Both the boxers raising their hands, lets see which way this one goes!
Aug 5, 2017 10:09 pm (IST)
Zulfikar with what looked like another low blow! Almost catching the Indian out of breath, Zulfikar has really pressed on the pedal here. He is sensing an opportunity of a knockout here, blood also pouring out of Vijender's nose. But remember Zulfikar has already had a 1 point deducted for low blows, we are now entering the final round!
Aug 5, 2017 10:04 pm (IST)
Aug 5, 2017 10:03 pm (IST)
Zulpikar also starting to tire out now, both weigh above 70 kgs, and with two rounds remaining, they seem to be running out of gas. Zulpikar managing to connect with a blow towards the end which leads to a bloody nose for Vijender. That will need some work from the medical team quickly!
Aug 5, 2017 9:59 pm (IST)
Age coming into play now, Zulpikar connecting with a couple of blows. Vijender also breathing a bit heavily here. This round has been edged by the Chinese you have to say, will be interesting to see how the judges see this. This is a really close bout you so far!
Aug 5, 2017 9:54 pm (IST)
Zulpikar loses the point there for another low blow, he was already warned twice. This might come back to haunt the Chinese if this is a close fight! But both boxers going for it now, from a strategic fight, this is slowly turning into a street fight! The crowd is also getting into it, supporting the Indians.
Aug 5, 2017 9:52 pm (IST)
We come to the end of round 5, and what an incredible round Both boxers exchanging some mighty blows there, again you have to say Vijender probably had the edge over his Chinese counterpart!
Aug 5, 2017 9:48 pm (IST)
One of Zulpikar's punch seems to have connected Vijender just below the eye, as it appears a bit swollen. Zulpikar also upping the ante in this round, both boxers going for it. Zulpikar does have a natural advantage as a southpaw which Vijender will have to counter. Zulpikar also receiving another warning there, he will have to be careful now going ahead! Vijender just edging this fight so far.
Aug 5, 2017 9:43 pm (IST)
Zulpikar receiving a warning in that round for a low blow, Vijender slowly upping the ante as well connecting with a couple of blows. Zulpikar still holding back here, he did connect a couple of blows, which led to Vijender taking a tumble, but this round was shaded by the Indian you have to say.
Aug 5, 2017 9:39 pm (IST)
Again a close second round, none of the boxers going all out yet. It's a 10-round fight and strategy will play a key role. Vijender talked about taking the fight till the final round, and you can see it clearly from the strategy he has applied here.
Aug 5, 2017 9:34 pm (IST)
As expected, both the boxers taking a measure of each other in the first round. Zulfikar connecting with a couple of punches, but nothing much too worry the Indian.
Aug 5, 2017 9:28 pm (IST)
We have had the national anthems, both the boxers receiving final instructions from their respective trainers! This promises to be a nail biting fight!
Aug 5, 2017 9:24 pm (IST)
Vijender Singh enters the ring with Singh is King playing in the background, the crowd is on their feet for the Indian superstar! He looks calm and focussed as well for the bout!
Aug 5, 2017 9:23 pm (IST)
Zulpikar is entering the ring, and he looks calm and focussed here. He has got a solid contingent with him, and someone is waving the Chinese flag behind him!
Aug 5, 2017 9:20 pm (IST)
Both the players almost seem to be matching each other in height and weight, remember Zulfikar is 8 years younger to Vijender, and that might come into play if match goes all the way!
Aug 5, 2017 9:11 pm (IST)
Remember, both the boxers are unbeaten so far. WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight title as well as WBO Asia Pacific Oriental Title is on the line here! Let's see who gets this one today, its a winner takes all fight!
Aug 5, 2017 8:52 pm (IST)
The judges have decided it in favour of Neeraj Goyat, so he takes this by unanimous decison and he retains the WBC Asia Welterwight Title! 119-108, 119,108 and 118-110 were the final scores from the judges. The Philipino seems to be a tad disappointed and you can understand why. The end of this bout means we are just minutes away from the start of the main event for tonight! It will be Vijender Singh in action up next!
Aug 5, 2017 8:46 pm (IST)
Round 12 comes to an end, and both the boxers look confident here, its now upto the judges to decide. Will be intresting to see which way this goes, you have to say Tanada started off well but Goyat did come back into this! Let's see how the judges decide this.
Aug 5, 2017 8:43 pm (IST)
Neeraj Goyat getting in some blows towards the end of round 11, we are coming to the final 3 minutes of this incredible bout! Both the boxers showing supreme fitness as they battle it out here!
Aug 5, 2017 8:39 pm (IST)
Both the boxers easing out a bit, they have totally gone at each other for 10 rounds here, this round will probably be too close to call. Two rounds left, will we get a knock out?
Aug 5, 2017 8:35 pm (IST)
Goyat is connecting with some combinations here, the ninth round has certainly belonged to the Indian here, he is looking for a knockout. The bell coming to Philipino's aid there. Nine rounds gone in this one now.
Aug 5, 2017 8:29 pm (IST)
Goyat still on the defensive here, Philipino is clearly on top here. Goyat's left jab seems to be his only weapon. Tanada has been the one to show intent and he continues to remain aggressive with eight rounds gone!
Aug 5, 2017 8:24 pm (IST)
Neeraj Goyat has started connecting with his left jabs now, he will need to continue with the same momentum going ahead, and hope for a knockout in the remaining rounds.
Aug 5, 2017 8:21 pm (IST)
The unofficial judges have given four rounds to Neeraj Goyat, but this is from the unofficial judges. It does give you a hint though that the Indian will have to up his game in the remaining few rounds.
Aug 5, 2017 8:15 pm (IST)
The first three rounds of the fight have surely belonged to the Philippino here, but you have to say that the fourth round was edged by the Indian, intresting to see how the judges see it. Goyat certainly needs to improve going ahead.
Aug 5, 2017 8:11 pm (IST)
Tanada seems to be continuing on a roll here, his international experience coming to the fore. He dealt a heavy blow to Neeraj Goyat tight at the beginning of round 3, Goyat on his part seems to be inviting Tanada to go harder! Intresting tactics from the Indian!
Aug 5, 2017 8:07 pm (IST)
Second round seems to be too close to call for now, Goyat will want this to go for all the 12 rounds. Tanada will be looking to get this over with early as he seems to be on the aggressive right from round 1
Aug 5, 2017 8:01 pm (IST)
You have to say that in the first round, Tanada seems to be have a bit of an edge. He has come out all guns blazing, taking Goyat by surprise with his aggression. But remember this is a 12-round bout so still a lot of boxing left!
Aug 5, 2017 7:55 pm (IST)
Neeraj Goyat is entering with a couple of rappers, and also the India flag proudly waving behind him. He has bought a contingent with him and certainly looks confident!