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Vijender Singh lines up Amir

| VIVEK KUMAR
Published : Jul 17, 2016, 11:44 pm IST
Updated : Jul 17, 2016, 11:44 pm IST

Vijender Singh celebrates after winning the WBO Asia-Pacific super-middleweight title against Australia’s Kerry Hope in New Delhi on Saturday. (Photo: AP)

AA Vijender Singh.jpeg
 AA Vijender Singh.jpeg

Vijender Singh celebrates after winning the WBO Asia-Pacific super-middleweight title against Australia’s Kerry Hope in New Delhi on Saturday. (Photo: AP)

Looking to savour his emphatic win over Kerry Hope of Australia for some time at least, star boxer Vijender Singh said that the success in his fledgling pro boxing career was the result of the Olympic medal he brought home eight years ago.

“This title (WBO Asia-Pacific supper-middleweight) is of course special but the Olympic bronze is closer to my heart. It is because of that medal I owned at the Beijing Games that I am here today,” the 30-year-old said during the post bout press conference at the Thyagraj Stadium here on Saturday night.

The Bhiwani boxer punched off Hope 98-92, 98-92, 100-90 in a 10-round battle, his longest so far, to clinch his first professional title and keep his record intact at 7-0. As a result, he has entered the top-15 of the WBO rankings.

“I am ecstatic with this title win as it was a dream come true. The hard work my team and I have put in, the beating I took, have paid dividends. We had promised India that we would make it happen and we did,” said a beaming Vijender.

“I dedicate this victory to Muhammad Ali, the legend who passed away last month,” he added.

Vijender acknowledged the vital participation of the spectators present inside the arena, saying, “I didn’t expect such a huge crowd would come to watch me fight. It was amazing. I thank the fans all over India and the celebrities who attended the fight night.”

Vijender felt that professional boxing is going to occupy bigger space from here in the country in near future.

“We have made it a mission to popularise pro boxing in India. A number of professional and amateur boxers are joining our cause, and I hope the present scenario will change fast,” said the former Asian Games gold medalist.

The former world championship bronze medallist also did not deny the possibility of a showdown with Amir Khan — the British boxer of Pakistan origin.

“Mine and Amir’s weight categories are different. So, in case he increases his weight or I decrease mine, we can work it out. I hope when that big fight happens, it happens in India,” he said.

Vijender will have to defend his title within the next 120 days. But for now, the Haryana pugilist wants to take a break before his big title defence.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi