New Delhi: India’s star boxer Vijender Singh on Wednesday said his first home professional bout against Australia’s Kerry Hope for the WBO Asia Pacific super middleweight title will decide the future of professional boxing in the country. The 30-year-old Indian will fight for his maiden title as a professional boxer at the Thyagaraj Stadium, New Delhi. This also makes it his first professional fight on Indian soil, making this fight a great spectacle for any Indian who watched Vijender bring glory for India at the Olympics stage in 2008.
His opponent, Kerry Hope, was born in Wales and later immigrated to Brisbane, Australia. The 34-year-old is a former WBC middleweight champion and has a wealth of experience having fought 30 bouts and won 23 of them, two via a knockout. Although in the seven defeats that he has had, Hope has been knocked out four times by his opponents.
Hope has come up one division to super middleweight to challenge Singh and hopes to beat him. Vijender's coach, Lee Beard has explained that Vijender has been training hard to fight his first 10 round bouts against Hope. Vijender has previously fought matches with 4, 6 and 8 rounds.
Beard also said that they have been discussing techniques to nullify the 'Australian Southpaw'. Hope was previously ranked number 3 in the world, which shows that there is a daunting task up ahead for Vijender and is not to be taken lightly. Vijender however has been unfazed by the hype of this event and seemed focused and determined during a press conference. Vijender calmly replied to Hope's comments of the Indian's lack of experience in the pro circuit and how the Aussie can use his experience to beat him by saying, "Time will decide what happens on 16th July.
Just wait and watch." These comments surely come from a person who seems super confident going into this fight. A victory for the Indian lad could help shape a new future for Indian boxing and could see more youngsters following Singh's footsteps and making the sport one of India's own. Vijender surely has the speed, strength, skills and agility to take on the Aussie but with Hope's experience, anything can happen. The vacant WBO Asia Pacific title on the line, this fight could end up being remembered for a long time.