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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