In November Top Rank announced that they had signed Indian star Vijender Singh (10-0, 7), who has been inactive since December 2017. Over the last few days we have been informed that the plan is for Singh's first fight under Top Rank is to come in either late February or early March and is expected to be held at Madison Square Garden.
At the moment their is no opponent set for Singh, though the expectation is that it will be someone limited as Singh needs to desperately shake off some ring rust.
Given the timing of his US debut it's expected that Singh will share a card with fellow Top Rank promoted Indian fighter Vikas Krishan Yadav (0-0), who will be making his debut on January 18th. It's also assumed likely that Top Rank will do their best to work Singh into a world title fight sooner rather than later, knowing that Singh is now in his 30's and won't have a career that will last too many more years.
An announcement on Singh bout is expected later this month, and will be massive news in India, given how big of a star the unbeaten fighter is. His TV audience and potential fan base is massive and Top Rank will want to make that huge news when they announce it.
We know that Vikas will make his professional debut in January, and although it's not been officially confirmed it does seem likely that Singh could be on the same card, as it would give both Indians a chance to shine in early 2019.
The signing of Singh perhaps suggests that Top Rank have got big plans for him on a personal level, as well as seeing him as a key figure in the growth of the Indian professional boxing scene, and he may well find himself in the mix for a bout with WBO champion Gilberto Ramirez (38-0, 25) somewhere down the line.
Earlier today fight fans in India giot the chance to see local hero Vijender Singh (9-0, 7) score the biggest win of his career, as he narrowly saw off determined Chinese slugger Zulpikaer Maimaitiali (8-1-1, 6) [祖力皮卡尔·买买提艾力] in Mumbai, and unified the WBO Asia Pacific and Oriental titles.
The Indian started well, using his legs well and making the most of his hand speed advantage to to counter the Chinese fighter, who looked to apply pressure but wasn't quite quick enough in the early stages to have much success. The following round 2 the action picked up with both men having their moments. It seemed like Singh was fearful of Maimaitiali's power, but did pick his moments to stand and fight.
In round 3 Singh's respect of his foe's power seemed to really be the key with Singh deciding to get on his bike more. The same was true for much of round 4, with the Chinese fighter being warned late in the round for a low blow. Another low blow in round 6 caused the referee to deduct a point from the Chinese fighter.
The final few rounds seemed to show a more and more tired looking Singh on back foot, retreating, holding and spoiling. That gave Maimaitiali a chance tohave a real charge and he did just that, seemingly scoring a knockdown late on, though it wasn't ruled one.
At the end of 10 rounds it was clear the bout had been really competitive, even if it wasn't the most exciting or action packed. That was shown when the cards were announced with scores of 96-93 and 95-94, twice. Essentially with the point deduction costing the Chinese fighter a draw.
Although Singh did win, he didn't look good and it's clear he's not going to reach the top of the sport. As for the Chinese fighter, it's unlikely he'll go on to win a world title, but on this performance, and given his age and inexperience, there is real potential for him to improve and develop into a genuinely good fighter.
This coming weekend fight fans in India will be able to see national star Vijender Singh (8-0, 7) battle with Chinese foe Zulipikaer Maimaitiali (8-0-1, 6) [祖力皮卡尔·买买提艾力] in a bout to unify the WBO Oriental and WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight titles.
Thankfully it's been announced that the fight won't be limited to an Indian audience and in fact the bout will be aired live in the UK on Sony Max UK, making history with the bout being the first ever to air on the channel.
The bout, dubbed "Battle of Asia" is set to crown the best Super Middleweight in the region and is expected to do insane numbers in terms of viewing figures, with China and India accounting for more than 2.8 billion people. That figure totally disregards America and Europe with the bout being aired in both regions courtesy of Sony, who have acquired rights for the bout in multiple markets.
For those in the UK andwith Sky TV the channel is available for free, whilst SKY HD customers will be able to watch the bout on Sony MAX HD.
Boxing hasn't yet really come to life in either China, the world's most populous country, or India, the world's second most populated country. Potentially they could both become massive players in the sport, and although neither has yet really made a lot of noise it's nice to see both countries are developing some notable talent in recent years and that they are both moving forward in their growth of the sport.
According to reports in India the two countries are set to clash in early August as Indian boxing star Vijender Singh (8-0, 7) battles with Chinese foe Zulipikaer Maimaitiali (8-0-1, 6) [祖力皮卡尔·买买提艾力] in a bout to unify two WBO regional titles.
The bout, which is expected to take place in Mumbai, would see the local favourite make his second defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title, which he won last July against Kerry Hope in New Dehli, whilst the Chinese visitor would be hunting his first defense of the WBO Oriental Super Middleweight title, which he also won last July.
Singh is by and away the biggest name in Indian professional boxing. There is no one that comes close to matching him domestically in terms of skills or popularity, but he has been inactive since December and at 31 he likely doesn't have time on his side to develop. Instead his team are going to have to put him in dangerous bouts, and this is certainly a tough one, especially after an lengthy lay off. Prior to turning professional he was a top class amateur who had competed at the highest level for years.
Aged 22 the Chinese fighter has shown a lot of promise, but is stepping up massively and will be fighting outside of the Chinese region for the first time, with all his bouts either taking place in China or Macau so far. He was last in the ring in April, and has been realtive inactive since the start of 2016, fitting 6 fights into 2015 but fighting only 3 times since. A win here for him would see his profile increase massively, and be a huge shot in the arm for Chinese boxing, which is bubbling, but has yet to really break through into being a major sport there, with only a handful of notable events every year.
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