New Delhi: The Vijender Singh juggernaut rolled on without a glitch as the Indian boxing star took less than 10 minutes to successfully defend his WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title with an emphatic technical knockout win over Tanzania’s Francis Cheka in New Delhi on Saturday.
Singh landed the winning blow in the third round of what was to be a 10-round contest to leave on the former World Champion Cheka dazed and a packed Thyagraj Stadium delirious. “I trained hard in Manchester for two months for this. I thank all my coaches for the effort they put in. Cheka talked so much but I believed in my punch power, and I have done it,” Vijender said after the bout.
Celebrities adorned the front rows surrounding the ring. From five-time world champion M.C. Mary Kom to minister of state for home affairs Kirren Rijiju to star wrestling duo of Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt, it was a power-packed front row to cheer for Singh from ringside. However, the man who stole the show among the front-row occupiers turned out to be celebrity yoga guru Baba Ramdev. He walked in with Sushil to a loud applause from the packed stadium and was instantly mobbed for selfies and handshakes by the crowd.
Walking in to the now trademark tune of ‘Singh is King’, Singh had the crowd excited even before he entered the ring. When the bout finally kicked off, Cheka seemed quicker off the blocks even as Singh played block and dodge. However, the Indian got into the groove soon enough and landed lusty uppercut to the body to rattle Cheka.
Cheka seemed on the backfoot in the second round and was wary of having a go at the hard-hitting Haryana-lad, who stuck to landing clean and straight blows. Cheka was also undone by the reach advantage that Singh enjoyed. While Cheka struggled to keep his balance owing to his shorter reach, Singh put his long arms to good use. PTI