Vijender Singh once again headlined a quality packed card but this time things weren’t simple for the boxer from Haryana. The card also featured former Olympics boxers in Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar who made their debut having competed at the Beijing Olympics. However the eyes of those at the NSCI in Mumbai and millions watching on the TV screens were transfixed on the boxer from Bhiwani who once again in a unanimous decision to keep his unbeaten streak going. Vijender took on Chinese No.1 boxer Zulpikar Maimaitiali and at the end, Vijender now holds WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight & WBO Oriental Super Middleweight. In other bouts, Akhil Kumar beat Ty Gilchrist and Jitender Kumar beat Thanet Likhitkamporn.
BATTLEGROUND ASIA BOXING UPDATES:
2219 hrs IST: Vijender: “I didn’t expect this fight. I didn’t play my game and some of the attempts by him were unsporting.”
“I don’t want this title because I don’t want tension at the border (between India and China)”
2214 hrs IST: DECISION:
JUDGE 1: 96-93
JUDGE 2: 95-94
JUDGE 3: 95-94
WINNER: VIJENDER SINGH IN UNANIMOUS DECISION
2209 hrs IST: Vijender Singh not in the right frame now or even today. The Indian boxer is struggling and needs something magical in the last minute and half to turn things around but at this stage it looks unlikely. Another possible unsporting hit from Zulpikar and another break. Officials checking but it has begun again. Zulpikar with flurry of punches to try and end on the high.
2205 hrs IST: Into the ninth round. Vijender slips and goes down once again. Chants of “cheater, cheater” by the crowd. Zulpikar with a lower blow into the Vijender midriff and this results in the Indian going down. Blood is pouring out of Vijender’s nose and he seems to be low on confidence
2157 hrs IST: Staying level so far. Into the eighth round with neither boxers able to create a serious opening or find a defensive loophole to make the most of. Zulpikar staying in it with jabs after another.
2154 hrs IST: Vijender went down and Zulpikar tried to make the most of it with a left handed jab but the referee seems to indicate that there wasn’t much in it. However on the whole that seemed to be a good round for the Chinese boxer
2147 hrs IST: It’s getting hot here. Both men going hard at each other and making the most of little space at their disposal. Vijender with flurry of punches and got some in response but nothing concrete. Spectacular for the crowd
2144 hrs IST: Zulpikar with a great fourth round. Getting some neat punches into Vijender’s body, into the midriff. And then the Chinese boxer loses his balance to go down onto the canvas. Vijender comes back to sting Zulpikar. But a contentious moment there. A lower blow and the referee needs to intervene
2142 hrs IST: Little to show for in the third round. Vijender slipped at the end of the third round. But nothing to worry about as it wasn’t a jab or anything damaging from Zulpikar. Both men seeking a real opening so far
2135 hrs IST: Second round underway and Vijender gets some meaty blows into Zulpikar’s face. Crowd applauds the action and that round will go into the Indian boxer’s favour
2131 hrs IST: Reminder that this will be a bout of maximum ten rounds. And we’re go. Vijender with trunks in the Indian colours and Zulpikar in green and yellow trunks. It has been a cagey start from both pugilists. Vijender with some hits in the first round but nothing substantial
2124 hrs IST: First to enter the ring is Zulpikar Maimaitiali and it is followed by Vijender Singh. “Singh is King” blares at the NSCI Stadium as the Indian boxer enters. China’s anthem first followed by the Indian anthem
2105 hrs IST: We’re inching towards the Vijender Singh vs Zulpikar Maimaitiali marquee match tonight. The double title bout in Mumbai. Both men with the same height, both men with near-same weight and both men are unbeaten. Couldn’t be more even than this!
2048 hrs: Judge 1: 119-109; Judge 2: 119-109 and Judge 3: 118-110. STILL THE CHAMPION, NEERAJ GOYAT! Has the flag drapped around him. Thanks the promoters and officials across seated at the NSCI Stadium and the Army School in Pune for the training and the facilities.
2046 hrs IST: The bout has gone the distance. Neither boxers have gone down or let up and they’ve both competed neck-and-neck, jab-to-jab across the 12 rounds for 36 rounds in the sweltering heat. In the end, both raise their arms in celebrations. But it will be the judges to decide who has won. Should be a tough call…
2004 hrs IST: Neeraj Goyat is now fighting Allan Tanada in the second last bout of the evening! Into the fifth round and things pretty even so far between the two boxers. The Indian boxer in black and red trunks against Tanada in the colours of his native Philippines.
1936 hrs IST: Akhil Kumar wins on his debut at the age of 36. An abdominal issue for Ty Gilchrist and that’s a technical knockout. Fantastic debut for AK47!
1910 hrs IST: The second bout of the night is a lightweight South East Asia 4 round bout b/w India’s debutant Jitender Kumar & Likhitkamporn. And Jitender makes it 2-0 in the night for India with a strong win
1830 hrs IST: The first bout of the night is between Wanphichit Siriphana and Pardeep Kharera in the Welterweight category and the Indian boxer comes out tops to give India a 1-0 lead in the matches tonight.
Pardeep with a TKO win with the Thai boxer unable to continue due to an injury.