Vijender takes on the Chinese pugilist in an unification bout on August 5 in Mumbai.
“Work hard in silence. Let success make the noise.”
Vijender Singh, Olympic medallist and the reigning WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight champion, certainly adheres to the aforementioned saying.
With a 8-0 professional record (7 KOs), one can afford to be haughty, but not Bhiwani’s sensation.
In a candid chat with The Statesman, the 31-year-old explained why his bout against Chinese boxer Zulpikar Maimaitiali might just be the biggest one of his career.
“I don’t have a personal grudge against China of course, I have been there 8-9 times for tournaments and it’s a fine country no doubt, but you know what irks me?
“Despite being neighbours for donkey’s years there seems to be no end to contentious issues, whether it is the Ladakh border affair or the ongoing one in Sikkim,” an exasperated Vijender vented.
Vijender’s opponent, the 23-year-old Zulpikar, has been trash-talking a lot but it doesn't faze the Indian pugilist one bit.
“I know what my job is and that’s to box. I am a professional boxer and I believe in letting my fists doing the talking.
“I won’t lie, though, this fight has bit of an extra edge to it. I’m a proud Indian and I want to win it if for nothing else but to bring some cheer to our brave Indian Army jawans who risk life and limb for us on the border,” stressed a fired-up Vijender.
However, more than just national pride is on the line as the contest will be an unification one with Zulpikar holding the WBO Oriental Super Middleweight belt and it’s a golden chance for Vijender to become the No.1 contender for the world title.
Being triumphant on August 5 at the NSCI Stadium in Worli will definitely be a giant leap but Vijender is wary of the threat the Chinese southpaw holds.
“Yeah no doubt lefties are more dangerous,” added Vijender when asked about whether a sinistral automatically gets an edge.
“I won't divulge much about my training, but I can tell you my sparring sessions have been against left-handers to get me up to speed.”
Speaking of southpaws, boxing legend Manny Pacquiao was recently stunned by Jeff Horn in a controversial clash and Vijender feels the Filipino was robbed of the win.
“Man, everyone saw the fight. Can’t understand how Manny lost, but that’s boxing I guess. Sometimes decisions just go against you.”
Vijender, who rates Manny and Floyd Mayweather as one of the best to have ever stepped into the ring, wants to follow in their footsteps and extend his career till 40.
“God willing I will still be boxing a decade from now. If I can keep fit, age is just a number man!”
With him holding Mayweather in such high regard, it isn't surprising then that he picks the American as the winner in his upcoming bout against MMA sensation Conor McGregor.
“Pfft. It’s a no-contest. Mayweather all the way,” Vijender added as he signed off.