Just moments ago fans in India saw national star Vijender Singh (7-0, 6) score his best win to date,as he claimed the the WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title and out pointed Welsh Born Australian based Kerry Hope (23-8, 2).
On paper the bout was a massive step up in class for Singh, who some had viewed as the man who could potentially kick start boxing in the Indian sub-continent. To Indian fans the bout was supposed to be merely the next step to Singh becoming a world champion and he was widely expected to dominate Hope, with an early knockout expected by many in the country.
From the opening round however things weren't that easy for Singh who finally came up against an opponent posing some actual questions. The questions really did see Singh looking silly at times, and actually slipping to the mat at one point, as Hope made him think a lot more than he had in his previous 6 contests.
Through 4 rounds there was little really to split the men. It did seem like Singh was doing just enough, especially at home, but he wasn't dominating as the locals had expected and it was clear that Singh was actually in a fight, for the first time as a professional.
Despite the competitive start Singh seemed to come on strong in the middle rounds, particularly in rounds 5 and 6 which were clearly rounds that the Indian enjoyed, and seemed to suggest that he could be breaking Hope down slightly. Hope however defied the local star and fought back in a close 7th round. By round 8 Singh was starting to look exhausted, like a man who hadn't really trained for a 10 round bout and the fight ended after several quiet rounds.
Given his home advantage, and mid-round surge, there was little doubting that Singh would get the decision, which he did courtesy of cards that read 98-92, twice, and 100-90. The bout was a great win for the Indian, given that Hope is a considerable step up in class, but the bout did show that Singh is a genuinely flawed fighter and was somewhat fortunate that Hope was a light puncher, well past his prime. He will now need to be matched carefully whilst building up his stamina which did appear to be a real issue in the later rounds.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!