Indian pro boxer Vijender Singh will face the biggest opponent of his professional career in the form of Francis Cheka to defend his WBO Super Middleweight Asia Pacific title. Vijender's bout against the former world and current Intercontinental Champion will take place in New Delhi on December 17.
After retiring from amateur boxing to turn into a professional boxer back in June 2015, Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh claimed his first pro title in July this year by beating Australian Kerry Hope. So far, the Indian boxer has racked up seven wins in the seven bouts he has contested so far.
The 31-year old will face a stern test when he comes face-to-face against Francis Cheka, a veteran of 43 fights with 32 wins including 17 knockouts, in December.
Cheka, 34, also has the experience of spending 300 gruelling rounds in the ring in his career spanning across 16 years. He formerly held the WBF world champion title and currently has the Intercontinental Super Middleweight Championship title, which he had won earlier this year against Serbia's Geard Ajetovic.
Speaking about the challenge of fighting Cheka, Vijender told PTI,"Cheka is a highly experienced boxer, he has many bouts under his belt, but none of this demotivates me. I am training harder to match up to his level and hoping for another win.”
Vijender has also hoped for big support from the home crowd when the bout takes place in New Delhi.
“Once again my fight will be at home, just like last time the support that I got from the crowd was overwhelming and I am sure there will be more people who will come out to support me,” the Haryana-based boxer added.
“I am confident of my win; I feel my stance is becoming better with every training session that I am undergoing. My trainer also feels that my punches are stronger than before and he has also put me under high-intensity training. I am sure of protecting my title with as much pride as I won it. I am going to leave no stone unturned to make sure my title stays with me," the 31-year old said.
However, Vijender's Tanzanian opponent was not kind with his words, saying that he would like to take away the title in front of the home crowd by knocking out the Indian.
“I am ready to give this kid a lesson of boxing I will come to India. I have heard a lot about this Indian boxer and there's a lot of hype around him, I just can't wait to be the one to put him in his place.
"I know he trains in Manchester, UK, but it will be a great fun to beat Indian lad in his own country and take away his title. If you see my record, I have a total of 17 knockouts, I have played way more rounds than he has, I am sure I will be able to knock him out in the first round itself.
"I have seen his previous fights, he has fought absolutely nobody so far and I am sure he will get rid of facing me in the ring. The day he will meet me in the ring, he won't have a reply for anything I throw at him and once I start landing my punches at him it be will game over for India's golden boy. There's no doubt in my mind that I will
Lee Beard, the trainer of Vijender, said, "We have been working on Vijender's strength and power in the gym and he is punching a lot harder. I can already see the benefits of the high-intensity training sessions we have been putting him and everyone will see an even better Vijender on December 17th.”
Lee also praised Vijender saying that the Olympic medallist is one of the best he has ever trained. He said, "Of all the fighters I have trained, he is one of the best when it comes to learning; he is an extremely quick learner. He will be prepared and ready to defend his title in style."