Battleground Asia: Vijender Singh ready to take on one-geared Zulpikar Maimaitiali in double-title fight

Weigh-ins can be feisty affairs. Fractious even. Sometimes the stare downs and the trash talk are just to drum up interest for the fight. On occasions, the anger is real and things tend to spiral out of control.

At Vijender Singh’s weigh-in on Friday, ahead of Saturday’s ‘Battleground Asia’ against China’s Zulpikar Maimaitiali, there was no such drama.

If anything, the drama had unfolded in the Vijender camp the previous evening when they realised the boxer was two kilograms over the mandatory weight of 76.2kgs with only a few hours before the weigh-in.

There must have been a few sighs of relief in Vijender’s camp on seeing him weighing in at 76kg on Friday even though his trainer Lee Beard kept insisting that it was very normal and that the Indian had dropped drastic weight in a few hours before too.

“I’m going to have a hearty meal today, to be honest. Because of the fight, I had to keep a tab on my weight. It was around 78kg last night and I had to lose two kilos. I didn’t eat anything and did two training sessions,” said the Bhiwani native.

“He's been relaxing since Wednesday. All the hard work is done. You don't need to be doing any energy burning exercises, because all that energy needs to be building up for one thing, fight night. He'll just go eat now, relax and chill. Basically refuel and get plenty of rest,” Beard told reporters after the weigh-in.

There is more on stake for the Indian in Saturday’s double-title fight than for the Chinese.

At 31 years of age, defeat can spell doom.

“It’s a huge fight. The winner obviously is going to look to move forward quickly and into bigger fights. The loser has to rebuild and come again. There’s a lot at stake. A loss will be devastating to the individual concerned.

“Vijender knows there’s a lot riding on this. At this age, if he loses now, it is a difficult situation to come back because he's got a huge following as well. But we are not thinking about that,” Beard said before adding: “Vijender has got a lot of experience as well, he's not young, he's not going to get over-excited and make mistakes. He knows he needs to be calm and cool and collected on the night. It will all boil down to the skill, Vijender is the better fighter, the more rounded fighter.”

The man from China is just 23, but can pack a mean punch.

“With Zulpikar, there's a lot of things that he does consistently, he throws a few combinations on a regular basis. He's young, and he's a champion as well. We've got an opponent who is very hungry, dogged and determined,” Beard said analysing Vijender’s opponent

Beard, however, quickly pointed out: “I don't believe he's faced anybody like Vijender in his career. Vijender has faced better opposition after eight fights. His experience all around is going to be the difference. Zulpikar is a bit over-exuberant, he tries to get a little excited. Maybe he'll be a lot calmer, but we'll see. I think Vijender's experience is going to be the difference.

“He's got only one gear, he likes to go fast and at a singular pace. He's a strong fighter and can hit hard. He's got a decent jabs, decent round hook. He throws some nice punches. But there's a lot of things that I saw with his fights. Mistakes that I know Vijender will capitalise on.”

That’s exactly what fans of the Indian fighter will be hoping for.

Updated Date: Aug 05, 2017 13:42 PM

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