Vijender Singh won his ninth bout in the professional boxing ring when he beat Zulpikar Maimaitiali of China in a unanimous decision at the NSCI Complex in Worli, Mumbai. The Indian boxer won an extremely close bout that was adjudged 96-93, 95-94 and 95-94 by the three judges that stretched his unbeaten streak to 9-0 even though Vijender would feel lucky to have come out with a win.
At the end of the bout, Vijender made a surprising request and announced that he wished to return his newly acquired belt so as to alleviate the tension across the Indo-China border. “I want to dedicate this win to India-China friendship! There is some tension at the border, need peace. I don’t want the title, for peace and harmony at the border between India-China I will give it back to Maimaitial,” he said to the surprise of many.
With the win, Vijender now holds both the WBO Oriental Super Middleweight and the WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title, which he already held, but his decision to hand the title back is a rare request which would be up to the officials.
On the bout that went all the way with both men going hammer and tongs for the ten rounds, Vijender looked weaker as the match went on with Zulpikar drawing in with some meaty jabs. The impact started to be felt on Vijender’s face who was bleeding by the eighth round. The boxer from Bhiwani acknowledged that it was a tough bout and something he didn’t expect – even with some jabs by Zulpikar’s being considered unsporting. “You all saw it was a tough fight, but happy that we came out victorious. It was unfortunate that he hit a few low blows and that upset me a little. But I had to recover quickly,” he said.
Before taking the questions from the ring announcer Charu Sharma, Vijender went outside the ring to acknowledge the strong celebrity presence including Amitabh, Abhishek Bachchan and Baba Ramdev, who had been to his previous bout in Delhi too. “I want to thank the people for coming out and supporting me. The likes of Amitabh Bachchan Sir, the king, the legend; Randeep Hooda, Baba Ji [Baba Ramdev],” he stated before leaving the ring.