CHENNAI: Elections are over. Not that he was expecting to win, but in life as in sport, Vijender Singh loves to take up challenges. The Congress gave him a ticket a week or so after his return from Manchester in April and he took the plunge. “I had nothing to lose and no regrets,” he said. For him, everything is a learning experience. Not to shy away from tight corners, Vijender did give his best during the elections but politics perhaps is still not his game.
Boxing is. In a game that he excels, losing would be heart-wrenching.
Though a great fan of the Indian cricket team, Vijender preferred staying back at home in Manchester, instead of going to Old Trafford. His team just announced that he would be making a debut in Newark in New Jersey next month and he needs to get battle ready for the big one. It is a bout he has been dreaming of. He knows how big professional boxing is in the United States. “I am training very hard to get in shape for the big one,” he said. His opponent Mike Snider, however, hasn’t had as illustrious a career as him. But for Beijing Olympics bronze medallist, an opponent is an opponent. “One has to take everyone seriously. I am now watching videos of him to analyse his fights.”
Vijender had reached Manchester a couple of weeks ago for the training. His initial plan to debut in the US was in April at Los Angeles but an injury forced him to withdraw. “Now I am fit,” he said from Manchester. Since he missed a few days of training due to elections, he is spending extra hours in the gym under the watchful eyes of Lee Beard and his support staff.
“I am getting back into shape and in a day or two, my sparring will begin,” said the 33-year-old. “My team is putting in place a schedule that will get more intense as we close in on the July 13 date. I don’t have a strategy as yet because I am analysing him.”
Though devoid of pro bouts for more than a year, Vijender felt it would not affect his chances. Making a sound professional debut in the US is integral to progressing his career. With 10 wins out of 10 and seven KOs, he will stride into the ring a favourite against Snider who has 13 wins and five losses in 21 so far.