Star boxer Vijender Singh's first fight of 2017 could fetch him his second professional title. The Indian boxing ace says apart from some minor tweaks in his technique, he isn't making any special preparations for the showdown with China's Zulpikar Maimaitiali next month in Mumbai. The reigning WBO Asia Pacific Super-Middleweight champion will square off against Maimaitiali, the WBO Oriental super middleweight titleholder, in a winner-takes-all fight on August 5.
Vijender has not competed since successfully defending his title against Francis Cheka in December last year. So, his first bout of the year would be coming when more than half the year is already over but the 31-year-old doesn't mind the gap.
"It's not in my hands. Somehow, things didn't work out. I was supposed to compete in April but then my rival got injured. Maimaitiali challenged me for a May contest but backed out for his own reasons. He came back to challenge and so I am fighting on August 5," Vijender told PTI from Manchester where he is training with his long-time trainer Lee Beard.
"My job is to show up and deliver the goods when it's sorted so I will be there on August 5. Once you become title- holder, the fights are lesser in number and that's the case with me too. I have no issues with it," said the Beijing Olympics bronze-medallist, who kept a busy schedule when he first started out in the pro circuit in 2015.
"I am ok with how my fight schedule is right now. Two- three fights in a year is also fine. I don't have to prove anything to anyone. So I don't need to stress over all this," he added.
Ask him about Maimaitiali and Vijender refrains from any big talk, "He is a southpaw, so I am making slight changes to my technique. But that's not much. Rest of my training remains the same. I slog the usual hours regularly, the routine hasn't changed."
Vijender's life outside the ring is evolving as well. The former World Championships bronze medallist talked about his son, who has now entered school.
"Abeer has started going to school here and he has a lot of questions for me every day. That's also something that I have to keep pace with. Sometimes, I take him out and when he sees people seeking selfies with me, he starts asking 'what have you done that they want pictures with you?'," he laughed.
"I usually tell him 'I don't know, maybe it's because I am a boxer'," he said.
(With PTI Inputs)