Very few athletes have managed to captivate fans like the Indian pugilist from Haryana, Vijender Singh. Ever since his exploits at the 2008 Olympics, Vijender has been considered the torch bearer of alternate sports in India. Sports that have had to take a back seat due to the popularity of cricket in the country but are now starting to take center stage. Vijender Singh’s rise to fame has seen him win several awards, and he has since become one of the biggest names in the country today.
Vijender Singh raised quite a few eyebrows when he decided to turn professional, as the Indian fans were expecting a decent showing from the Indian at the 2016 Rio Olympics. However, Vijender Singh’s gamble of turning pro has paid off, and he has led the paradigm shift in the Indian sporting scene. Vijender Singh made his debut last month, defeating Sonny Whiting with ease. However, Vijender looked a little vulnerable in his defense, and going into his second professional fight this Saturday, he has done his homework.
With Vijender landing in Dublin yesterday evening, I managed to get a quick interview with the boxing sensation, exclusively for the Indian fans.
Vijender’s thoughts on his opponent, Dean Gillen
While Vijender acknowledged the fact that he had to work on his defensive technique for his upcoming fight, he had only good things to say about his opponent, Dean Gillen. Talking about the importance of not taking his opponent lightly, and if he had enough time to prepare for his opponent, Vijender added, “Dean is a good boxer; it isn’t as if he is bad in the ring. I’m prepared for him, and I’ve trained a lot, and I’ve sparred a lot. So I’m totally prepared to fight him.”
Vijender’s game plan going into the fight
Vijender’s game plan against Sonny Whiting paid off, with the Indian dictating the pace of the fight and pushing Whiting on to his back foot. However, with Gillen having a decent reach advantage, the Indian might have to change his game plan. “I’ve thought a lot about it, and I do have a game plan in my mind. I talked to my coach, and we came up with a plan. But I cannot reveal it right now, and you will be able to see what the game plan is after the fight”, Vijender added.
Vijender on the differences between amateur and professional levels
While the amateur game has a lot to do with skill set and technical abilities, the professional game is entirely different, with the boxer needing a wider range of skills. Vijender spoke about the need for conditioning at the professional level, and the differences he found between the amateur level and the professional level.
“Amateur game is completely different; now we have to run a lot (at the professional level), and I have to do it on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Now, I have to work on my conditioning all the time, and there are various other things such as weight training, conditioning, swimming… so those are the biggest differences between both the levels.
I think every aspect is every different at the professional level, such as the 12 rounds, and the game plan changes after every round. So those are the biggest difference that I’ve noticed.”
Lee Beard’s influence on his style
From his first fight, it was evident that Lee Beard’s coaching had influenced Vijender’s style. Talking about what he learnt from him, and his biggest takeaways till date, Vijender added, “I think his (Lee Beard’s) defensive strategies are really good. The best thing is, he doesn’t tell you to change your style or technique, but rather keeps telling you to keep watching your back, and work on your defense. So that’s something I’ve really liked.”
Vijender also expressed his gratitude to the fans, and urged the audience to tune in this Saturday for his second fight at the professional level.
You can catch Vijender’s second professional fight against Dean Gillen this Saturday (7th November) at 11:00 PM IST, live and exclusively on Sony SIX and Sony SIX HD, from Dublin, Ireland.