Exclusive: 'Beating No 1 Harikrishna in 2003 was the turning point in my career': Vijender Singh

India's star boxer Vijender Singh is gearing up for his next pro-fight against African opponent Ernest Amuzu

On the roof of Rabindranath Tagore World School, Gurugram, India’s star boxer Vijender Singh has been training with his coaches while listening to Punjabi and Haryanvi tracks on repeat. Vijender is gearing up for his next pro-fight against the Ghanian opponent Ernest Amuzu. Amuzu has a knockout rate of 84 percent and has won nine of his last 10 bouts. He says he won’t let his upcoming fight with India’s only professional boxer tarnish his record. Vijender, who has won all his previous nine bouts, doesn’t care. He says he is confident that he will end 2017 on a high note.

In an exclusive candid chat with InUth, Vijender talked about his next bout, what the turning point of his career was and more.

Ernest Amuzu has challenged you that he’ll knock you out on December 23 in Jaipur. What’s your take on that?
I hope for the best! I am very positive. I think he doesn’t know me well. He should Google about me and then he’ll realise what he is talking about. He is just saying random things. I think our fight will complete [before] 10 rounds.

So you’ve completed preparations for this fight?
Yes, we have our game plan ready. I discussed [that] with my coach. Stay focused, keep fit is my main focus.

2017 proved to be great for sports in India. Will we keep this momentum in 2018 as well? What’s your take?
Dil Maange More (the heart always wants more). I want our Indian sports to go more and more. It’s going in the right way, but I want more. In 2020 Olympics in Japan, we have to get 10 or 12 medals. We’ve everything (facilities) in our country, but people are not encouraging their kids to join sports. They still want them to be doctors or engineers. People should take sports seriously and I hope in future people will incline more towards sports.

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Apart from your regular practice, how you spend your free time?
This is my fight week; only 5 days are left for my next fight. I stay very reserved and try to be at home, focusing on my diet and training.

You acted in a film, judged a reality TV show and now you’re an amateur-turned-professional boxer. What do you like to do the most?
I like every role be it an [of] actor or reality show judge. I received several offers from Bollywood and reality TV shows, but this is not the right time. I want to focus on my boxing.

If a biopic would be made on you, which actor would you like to portray you on-screen?
That’s not my call. A director who would be making the film will decide.

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What was the turning point in your life?
The turning point in my life was in 2003 when I won the National Championship. Despite being a junior boxer, I participated in a National Championship and beat India’s No 1 Harikrishna. He was the great boxer [back then]. I beat him and I became the No 1.

And your biggest failure?
There will be good times and bad times in your life. It’s a zig-zag thing. Just be focused.

A fighter you enjoyed beating the most?
[He was] an Olympic Gold medallist from Kazakhstan (Bakhtiyar Artayev). I lost to him in the semifinal bout in 2006 Asian Games in Doha. After two months, we again faced each other in China and that time I promised my coach that I’ll beat him I can bet. And during the fight, I thrashed him very badly and won the bout.

You’re a star and role model. Do you get proposals even though you’re married?
I am a family man. I’m happy!

Your admirer Virat Kohli tied the knot with Anushka Sharma in a hushed ceremony in Italy. Your take?
I was busy with my boxing that’s why they left to Italy without informing me (laughs). Virat Kohli is a star and I wish him good luck.

What’s your 2018 resolution?
My resolution is to win every fight, get one more title. It may be the World title or Commonwealth title, or any title, but I want [to win] one more title next year.