Round by round, bout by bout, a professional boxer moves in the direction of a continental or a world title. And after tasting early success with two consecutive victories in the pro circuit, ace Indian boxer Vijender Singh also aims at following the same path.
So when he meets Bulgarian Samet Hyuseinov in his third pro bout at the Manchester Arena in England on Saturday, Vijender considers it an important step for two reasons – the opponent is ‘experienced’ than his last two rivals and the Indian is competing for the first time in a bout of six rounds.
The 29-year-old Bulgarian Hyuseinov has fought in 14 bouts, ending up on the winning side seven times and as many times as a loser. While he has 68 rounds of pro boxing to his name, the Bulgarian has fought in bouts of up to eight rounds.
In comparison, Vijender, though having an illustrious record in amateur circuit with a bronze medal each at the 2008 Olympics and the 2009 world meet, has experience of only two pro bouts, both of which had four rounds.
The Indian, thus, expects stiff competition but feels confident of another victory. “I never feel pressure of playing against experienced boxers since I have faced many of them during the Olympics, World Championships and the Asian Games; but it is a fact that as I progress in pro circuit, the bouts are going to be tougher, the opponents better and the number of rounds more,” Vijender told IBNlive.com.
Vijender added: “After my first two wins I registered in the four-round bouts, I am advancing to a six-round bout. Although it’s a difference of just two rounds, in terms of training I am experiencing a sea change. I am sparring six to eight rounds and there is more emphasis on endurance and stamina, but this is the only way to progress, especially when I aiming at the Asian title within a year where I have to prepare myself for 10 rounds at least.”
Speaking about his rival, the 30-year-old said: “I know he has experience and has already played in six- and eight-round bouts. But I am prepared, confident of blowing power punches and emerging triumphant again.”
Unlike an average pro boxer, who plays tactics of wearing down his opponent mentally by talking trash, Vijender is a picture of calm and composed self. Dismissing blabbering of his Bulgarian opponent, who recently said that the Indian fans would see their hero lose badly, Vijender said he believes in delivering performance in the ring.
“My first two opponents were also experienced ones and they threatened me with a knockout, but I beat them convincingly. I am among those who sweat a lot during training and deliver performance in the ring. I am mentally tough and somebody’s trash talk won’t affect me,” said Vijender.
Vijender beat Briton Sonny Whiting in the third round of his first pro bout in October, while knocked out fire-fighter Dean Gillen in his second bout last month. He took a break and came back to India for a week to celebrate Diwali with his family.
The boxer feels his visit to India rejuvenated him ahead of tough training.
“It was good to meet family and friends in India. It was necessary because as soon as I came back, the same grind of exhaustive training started. Sometimes you need to keep your mind off rigorous schedule and I believe India trip did that for me,” he said.
The boxer’s fight on Saturday will be held at the same venue where he made his debut. Vijender said he feels at home with the place as it is close to his home and reminds him of a winning start.
“I have very fond memories of the Manchester Arena since it was here I fought my first pro bout. I live close to the arena and a lot of Indians also reside in Manchester. I am looking to give an encore. Hope I win again with flying colours,” he signed off.