Star Indian boxer Vijender Singh’s maiden professional title bout was today tentatively scheduled for June 11 at the Indira Gandhi Indoor stadium here with the event’s sanctioning authority — the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) — promising a "historic and epic" contest.
Vijender, who is three fights old in the pro circuit having won all of them via knockouts, will be gunning for either the WBO middleweight or the super-middleweight title.
His opponent will be worked out in the next few weeks.
"It is the right time for him to fight for his first title. In fact it is definitely the right time commercially because we think, it would be huge for him to fight in India.
Before the June event, he has three fights in the UK. First is on March 12 in Liverpool, then he will fight on April 2 and April 30. After a bit of break, he will be fighting for either the WBO middleweight or the super middleweight title," Vijender’s UK-based promoters — Queensberry Promotions’ Francis Warren told PTI.
"We are going to look at which title is available. It is not about the belt but finding the right opponent for him. We will make the right decision for him. His progress so far has been exceptional. He has adapted very well and works very hard. Initially the plan was to have his India fight in September but June seems perfect and we might come back again in the next couple of months," he added.
"He (Vijender) has been away from home for a while now so it is good for him too that he can be among his people and the timing is just perfect because the July-August slot does not feature too much boxing in the UK."
WBO vice-President John Duggan said his body decided to sanction the bout looking at India’s potential to grow as a boxing nation.
"Vijender Singh is an eminent boxer, who has achieved so much in the amateur circuit. We think he can qualify to win not just the regional belts but also the world titles," he said.
"June 11 is going to be a wonderful event and I am sure it will be a historic, epic event which will also be very exciting," he added.
The venue for the bout is likely to be the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, which was today inspected by both Warren and Duggan.
"It can’t get better than the IG Stadium. We expect 15,000 to 20,000 people and it seems to be the ideal stadium for the bout. It is fully equipped to host such a big fight," said Vijender’s India promoter — IOS MD Neerav Tomar, who accompanied Warren and Duggan.
Duggan, on his maiden visit to India, also oversaw a conclave for the officials affiliated to the Indian Boxing Council (IBC) — the recently-formed licensing body for boxers wanting to take the professional plunge.
"The conclave has been a a huge success. I am very impressed with the people involved and I am sure India can go on to be a very powerful boxing nation," he said.