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Vijender Singh is still a bit jetlagged on Wednesday. Its only a day after he has flown back to India from Manchester and only two since he stopped Bulgarian opponent Samet Hyuseinov to record a perfect 3-0 record as a professional. A day before he says he is looking forward to meet his family, after a month’s break. As it turns out though, he heads to a promotional shoot on the day.
Its all part of what being a professional boxer is all about. Beyond boxing, the Indian needs to sell tickets for his promoters. And for that he needs to be in the public eye. Which is why Vijender will be at a gym in Gurgaon. Its also why he does the meet and greet scene back in the UK. A day before his fight, he was at a Indian restaurant in Manchester where he remarked that the beetroot halwa was ‘the best he’s had’. In the minutes after his fight he was on Twitter, interacting with his followers once again.
“I don’t get a lot of time to take in the fact that I’ve just won a bout,” he says. “It lasts perhaps a half hour and then I’m again thinking about getting ready for my next fight. Almost immediately I will have to be on social media, on twitter and facebook to talk to fans. I used to use all this before also but now it is necessary,” he says.
Vijender readily admits, that all the hype will be irrelevant in case he doesn’t perform in the ring. No one can accuse him of that. In all his three fights, Vijender has not been taken beyond three rounds. While the three knockouts certainly look good on his resume, the fights have been markedly non-competitive. Vijender doesn’t feel that fans would be bothered by the one-sided contests. “People come to see blood and a battle and a fight in the ring. And I give them that. It doesn’t matter to them if I put on a technical show or not. As far as I am concerned I am happy simply to get the bouts over as quickly as I can,” he says. This isn’t to say that he is fighting tin can opponents. “My opponents aren’t bad boxers. Its just that they never have fought someone with my capabilities,” he says. And while Vijender undoutedly has plenty of pedigree as an amateur, he hasn’t slacked up in the training camp before his fights.
“The big difference between what I did as an amateur and what I’m doing now is the kind of sparring I am doing. Right now I am sparring for two-hour sessions with boxers who are cruiserweights at Lee Beard’s gym. I don’t do as much work out of the ring anymore. That prepares me for whatever I might face during a bout,” he says.
The Indian feels the full contact sparring against heavier opponents makes him focus on getting tighter defensively. However he admits there is plenty of room for improvement. “There are times when I don’t have a great day training and there are other days when everything seems to work out,” he says. Indeed he says the learning continues even into the night of the fight itself. “In the amateurs, your corner can towel you and get you water and that’s it. If they talk, they can be removed by the referee. In professional boxing, your coaches are constantly telling you what you should be doing. Often they will tell that I should throw a body shot and then I’ll do that,” he says.
Considering how he’s blitzed through his competition, Vijender may seem to be a man in a hurry and in many ways its true. Having turned thirty this year, he knows time is not something he has a lot of. Which is why, he reckons his fourth fight will be an eight round contest. “My next fight will likely be an eight rounder. Perhaps I could have continued for a few more bouts but I don’t have a lot of time. If I was around twenty, I would have fought very selectively, but that’s not something I can afford to do right now,” he says.