Yesterday in the US Bob Arum confirmed that Indian fighter Vijender Singh (10-0, 7) would be making his US debut on April 12th at the Staples Center in LA, as part of the card headlined by Vasiliy Lomachenko defending his Lightweight titles against Anthony Crolla.
Originally there was no opponent named, though boxrec have his opponent listed as American 24 year old Calvin Metcalf (9-1-1, 2), who has gone unbeaten in his last 4 bouts.
This won't just be the first US fight for Singh, but will be his first fight since December 2017, when he beat Ernest Amuzu. The 33 year is a talented fighter, but there is a worry that he's on the back end of his career, and has failed the leave the mark that many interested in Indian professional boxing had been hoping. There is however a feeling that Top Rank will see Singh as a key player in bringing the top Indian amateurs into the pro-ranks.
Unbeaten Indian fighter Vijender Singh (10-0, 7) signed with American promotional power house Top Rank last November, but has been inactive since December 2017. That may be set to change, with Singh reporting that he had landed in LA, and Indian news papers reporting that he's set to begin training for his US debut shortly, with Freddie Roach expected to be confirmed as his training in the coming days.
Currently there is no set date for his return to the ring, and we've now seen a rumoured "February or March" seemingly fall by, though an April or May date would appear to be on the table for the fighter.
The 33 year old, who made his debut way back in October 2015, turned professional under Frank Warren, and was kept active early in his career, with 7 bouts in his first 12 months as a pro. Since then his activity has all but vanished as his career has stalled, and stalled..
Despite being inactive, and getting on for a fighter, he recently told the Indian press that he was hoping to advance his record to 50-0, responding to a question about how his professional career is going with the answer:
"So far so good, busy with boxing. Flying to the US Soon for my upcoming fight (which) we will announce very soon. I am going to LA with my team for training. Right now it's 10-0, looking for 50-0 one day"
Earlier in the week Singh was also in the Indian press calling for the Indian people to unite with the the families of the Pulwama terrorist attack victims, and donating a month of his salary to the families whilst condemning the attack.
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.
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