Mumbai: Vijender Singh on Sunday offered to return his World Boxing Organization (WBO) Oriental Super Middleweight title to Chinese Zulpikar Maimaitiali in lieu of peace at the India-China border.
Vijender, a double champion in pro boxing, has urged India and China to maintain peace at the border. The 31-year-old Olympic bronze medallist’s grew in stature last night by not just outslugging Maimaitiali in a close bout to annex the dual WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight and WBO Oriental Super Middleweight title, but by also urging for peace.
“To India-China friendship (I dedicate my title), because tension on the border is not good, because I see on social media, news, it keeps getting on and on and that’s not good. I give this title to people, peace, it’s all about friendship, Hindi-Chini bhai bhai," Vijender said during a media interaction.
Vijender’s comments came in the backdrop of the standoff between India and China. He won the thrilling 10-round bout by one of the closest unanimous decisions 96-93 95-94 95-94 to maintain his unbeaten streak at the professional boxing.
The bonhomie between the two boxers was evident as Zulpikar hugged Vijender and made him wear his cap. Vijender also returned the gesture by offering his belt to the Chinese boxer. Vijender said, “He (Zulpikar) gave me that cap, he said I asked him for the cap and he gave it to me, I simply gave him the belt but he couldn’t understand it."
The Beijing Games bronze medallist admitted that he did not expect the fight to go down the wire. “The fight was really good, I didn’t expect (it will go all the way), it was 10 rounds, at times the Chinese products last a little long, it was an amazing fight and fun! The fight was tough and a lot of blood oozed out, but finally win was ours, it was nice," he said.
During the fight, the southpaw hit Vijender below the belt and the Indian said that he was disturbed by it. “As you have seen, 3-4 times he (Zulpikar) hit below the belt and that disturbed me, that was a foul and the referee gave him a warning.
“It’s painful and it disturbed your game, you have planned in the mind and when you get that kind of below the belt punches, that distracts you. He is young kid, strong kid, but it’s all about winning," said
Vijender, who was floored on numerous occasions. Asked if he was confident of winning, the Indian said, “I am a positive person and I never think of losing, it’s all about scoring and rounds, the first six rounds were so good, my coach (Lee Beard) was saying it’s going round to round and winning every round (was important)."
Vijender also said he wants to challenge for the world championship soon. “Just pray for me, one day I will be a world champion. I would like to thank everyone who came for this fight. It was great to see you all," he signed off.