Ahead of his much-awaited WBO Asia title clash amid his home crowd of Delhi, Vijender Singh exuded confidence that he will defeat Australian Kerry Hope. Vijender hopes to “knockout” Hope early and said that he is undergoing high-intensity training to compete in his first ten-rounder match.
Vijender has had a dream run after turning professional with six wins in six fights so far – all through knockouts. The biggest fight of the boxer's career was under a cloud after AIBA had opened the door for professional boxers to compete in the Rio Olympics. Vijender appeared intent on representing the country, but that window was shut when Vikas Krishan bagged the lone quota in the category at the Olympic Qualifiers in Baku. Now with his concentration solely on the upcoming fight, Vijender talked about how special the match is for him, given it is happening in front of his home crowd at Delhi.
The Olympic medalist said, “With less than three weeks to go for my maiden title fight, am really excited to compete in front of my home crowd. Competing in front of my own people will be a very big moment for me and I don’t want to lose this chance.
“The audience will be sitting there and rooting for me, I want to play for them, I love the feeling of your own people cheering for you, it gives you a different kind of a boost and motivates you to keep hitting those punches,” reported PTI.
Vijender has so far fought only in four-round and six-round bouts, and the WBO title fight will be his first 10-round match. In order to prepare for what is expected to be a grueling contest, Vijender revealed he has been under a high-intensity training program.
The boxer said, “I have started high intensity training two weeks ago to compete in the first 10 rounder fight for Asia Pacific title and working hard to win this. I have seen videos of Kerry, he is a good opponent but I am training really hard to be ready for what my opponent has.”
Kerry Hope, his opponent, has belittled Vijender's credentials calling him an amateur and not a professional boxer. Brushing aside his verbal volleys, Vijender said, “If Kerry comes forward and throws shots then anyone who has done that in the past has got knocked out so if he leaves himself open my natural strength will play a big part. Every fight I go into I believe I will win. Doubt is the enemy. I believe he’s not as strong as me and he’s not training like I’m training.
“I have read his statement but don’t want to react on this. All I can say is that I am preparing for 16 July and my punches will reply to overconfident Kerry Hope. I am confident of winning this game and making my countrymen proud,” reported PTI.
Kerry will be Vijender's toughest test so far with an impressive record of 23 wins from 30 fights, but the Indian is unfazed.
“I don’t think fighting Kerry is a problem, sure he might be more experienced but it all depends on the punches and the strength you show in the ring at the time of the fight. The title is mine and I will make sure that everyone is proud of that moment,” Vijender said.
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