CHENNAI: For a professional boxer, the thud when his opponent crashes on the canvas is more than just exhilarating. More such sounds gradually turn into an intoxication that feeds on the opponent’s blood and pain. The smaller gloves give more power, timing and thrust to the punches that usually go unnoticed as just a point in amateur boxing. It’s just two fights but it seems clear which way Vijender Singh is heading. The heady mix of glitz and glamour is adding to his delight.
A showman who loves to stand under the arc lights, he went about his business with such clinical fashion that his opponent Dean Gillen could only last just a shade over 120 seconds after a flurry of combinations sent him reeling to the canvas. “Knockouts are what we live for,” said Vijender, hours before leaving for home. “I am missing home so much that I think I am getting more excited about it than the fight (chuckles).”
This will be the last of his four-round waltz. “Six rounds will be different,” said the 30-year-old Beijing Olympic bronze medallist. “I have to work on my endurance and power. I have trained a lot and every day, I am learning something new. I wake up with it and by the time I sleep, I have learnt another technique. Though the sport is similar, the games are totally different. The mindset and rituals are diverse. Diet is something you have to follow meticulously.”
The fight that was expected to have more sheen and resistance failed to live up to the billing. It was an undercard event and it remained so with Vijender pulling the punches right through. “When I hit him and he hit the floor the first time, referee said he slipped but the way the punch felt I thought I got him,” he said. “In boxing, once you hit and rattle your opponent one has to charge. That’s what I did.”
All his amateur life, Vijender never indulged in KOs. His potent weapon was a waiting and counter game. He always waited for a perfect opening and relied on timing. “Maybe, the smaller gloves is putting those extra pound of power,” said Vijender, who has a 2-0 record.
Vijender felt another reason for power is fitness. “With better fitness, I am more agile and can lean on to throw punches without losing balance,” he said. “That helps because by the time you land the punch, the body weight is also thrown at your opponent.” His first chapter in Manchester ended on a happy note. “It’s just the start and hope it will remain the same,” he said. His next fight is in December.