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Vijender Singh Crowned Sultan of Professional Boxing in Asia Pacific


Last Updated: July 17, 2016, 00:34 IST

India's Vijender Singh after winning his maiden title as a professional boxer. (AFP)

India's Vijender Singh after winning his maiden title as a professional boxer. (AFP)

Star boxer Vijender Singh defeated Kerry Hope of Australia in a hard-fought bout to win the WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight title at the Thyagraj Stadium on Saturday.

New Delhi: He lost footing for a moment in the second round but was the last man standing to be crowned the Asia Pacific super middleweight champion. Just one year into professional boxing, India's Vijender Singh won his maiden title beating Australia's Kerry Hope here on Saturday.

Vijender never looked weighed down by the 12-year professional experience of his Australian rival and was quick to find his right jab on target in the first round of the 10-round fight. In his unbeaten run of six fights so far, Vijender had never fought a 10-rounder.

At moments Vijender had a wry smile on his face when Hope hit below the belt. The Indian even looked at the referee with a complaining face, but he gathered himself to get on with it.

Initially, Hope looked more nimble of the two in front of the capacity crowd at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex in the capital. And Vijender stumbled in the second round but never looked at the receiving end until Hope found his first punch on the mark in round two.

But Vijender was quick to bounce back in the next two rounds pushing Hope in the corner and scoring off one of his punches, before both the boxers were found hanging on the ropes.

Hope opened himself up for the next few seconds, and Vijender was quick to latch onto the opportunity with a couple of scoring jabs.

The Australian looked a bit surprised with Vijender's endurance and perseverence despite having no experience of a 10-round fight. By the end of round five, both the boxers were not giving each other an inch.

By now, the crowd was well behind Vijender and he responded by landing a series of blows on scoring spots.

Vijender's trainer had a word with the referee about possibly Hope targeting the back of Vijender's head as the fight went into its climax.

There were continuous instructions from Hope's corner to not give Vijender room, and the Australian followed that by running Vijender close raising his aggressive intent, but Vijender ended round eight on the positive note with a couple of heavy punches.

The energy-sapping bout saw Vijender tiring a bit in the last two rounds, but he wasn't giving in and kept the Aussie on his toes.

With the fight going the distance, the two rivals went on the offensive to get that winning punch as Hope resumed swiftly everytime the referee broke the hug. The chants of 'Vijender, Vijender' grew to a deafening level in the final few seconds as Vijender's right jab found its mark - twice.

When the bell rang to end round ten, both the trainers lifted their respective boxers, much to the confusion of the fans.

The crowd was at the edge of their seats waiting which hand the referee will raise to declare the winner.

And all hell broke lose when the Singh was crowned the King.