Earlier today Indian sports fans got a taste of something new, PPV boxing, and it may well end up being a one and done, at least for now, due to the result in the main event. Which we'll get on to in a few moments.
The event in question was much cheaper than boxing is in the West but it was still an attempt to shake up the sporting scene in India. The event was available over BookMyShow and cost Rs99 (about £1 or $1.30). It was, according to reports in the Indian media, the first major sporting event ever to be shown on PPV in India.
Although the cost was certainly affordable it was still something new, and they obviously had to put a bankable name on the show to attract interest. With that in mind there was only one Indian they could really do that with, Vijender Singh (12-1, 8).
Singh is the hero of Indian professional boxing. He not the only Indian professional, as some might think, or the only notable Indian boxer, but he is, easily, the biggest Indian name in the sport. In fact he was the man that both Frank Warren and Bob Arum expected to use to open up the Indian boxing market. He was the bankable star of Indian boxing, and the man used to lead the PPV revolution of boxing in India.
Whilst he was a stand out amateur and turned professional with a lot of buzz his career has, sadly, been cursed with inactivity and now, aged 35, he is well past his best. Given his age it's fair to say that he's not the fighter he once was.
Sadly for those in India hoping Singh would become a major face of PPV he was up against Russian visitor Artysh Lopsan (5-1-1, 3), and Lopsan had different ideas to Singh and those behind the Indian PPV model.
Singh got off to the ideal start, dropping Lopsan with a straight right hand in round 2. That however wasn't enough to see off the Russian, who bounced back well. In round 4 Singh was down 3 times himself, as ring, father time and, of course, Lopsan got to him. At the end of round 4 Singh looked about done. He seemed spent. Sadly for him he had to come out again in round 5, and was dropped again. This time it was too much, and he took the count, suffering his first loss as a professional.
Whilst the big story is the result, with Vijender Singh suffering his first defeat, the sub story is that PPV boxing in India may now be dead on arrival thanks to their biggest star being shocked by an unheralded Russian visitor.
Earlier today MTK Global put on their latest show in the Middle East, with Dubai playing host to the show which featured an eclectic array of talent, including several fighters from Asia.
One of the notable names was OPBF Flyweight champion Jayr Raquinel (12-1-1, 9), who dispatched Indonesian journeyman Jack Amisa (21-47-3, 14) inside a minute, in what was little more than a stay busy fight. For Raquinel this was a second KO this win, but pales in significance compared to his 8th round win over Takuya Kogawa, which saw him become the first man to stop Kogawa.
Another of the Asian fighters on the show was once beaten Pakistani fighter Muhammad Waseem (10-1, 7), who scored his most meaningful win to date, as he over-came former world champion Ganigan Lopez (36-11, 19) in an 8 round bout.
From the opening round Waseem seemed too fresh, too quick and too sharp for the Mexican veteran, but to his credit the 38 year old Lopez refused to go away and made Waseem work for every round. The work out was what Waseem needed, but probably not what he wanted, given that Lopez had been stopped in 3 of his previous 5, and he looked very much like a fighter who hadn't prepared to fight 8 rounds.
A third Asian of note was unbeaten Indian Vijender Singh (12-0, 8), who looked very solid as he dominated 42 year old veteran Charles Adamu (33-15, 26). Singh dropped his man in round 2, though Adamu courageously got to his feet and fought on.
Adamu was dropped again in round 6, from a huge right hand, and his face was showing clear signs of swelling, yet again his stubborn toughness kept him in the bout. Another big shot saw the referee give Adamu another count in round 7, and Singh seemed on the verge of a stoppage, before Adamu some how saw out the round, and then saw out a brutal beating in round 8.
After 8 rounds there was no doubting the winner, with Singh taking a clear decision, though questions need to be asked of the referee who allowed Adamu to take a really unnecessary beating in the later rounds.
Unbeaten Indian fighter Vijender Singh (11-0, 8) has had his next bout announced today, with the reveal that he would be one of the headliners on MTK's "Rotunda Rumble II" in Dubai on November 22nd.
The talented Super Middleweight hasn't yet had his opponent for the bout announced, though what has been confirmed is that he will be in one of the main bouts and that the fight would be available around the globe.
Singh, India's most famous professional boxer, will have his bout available in the UK on IFL TV and and on ESPN+ in the US.
In an article on the MTK website, Singh is quoted as saying This is a wonderful opportunity for me to showcase my skills and to keep active as I continue my world title quest.
“I was proud of my last performance back in July, but I was coming off a long layoff. I am rounding into form, and fans are going to see the best version of Vijender Singh when I fight in Dubai.”
Sadly it is hard to get too excited about Singh and his career, given lengthy spells of inactivity, it is great to see him back in the ring, and fingers crossed his opponent will be a solid test.
After more than 18 months away from the ring fans finally had the chance to see Indian star Vijender Singh (11-0, 8) return to action last night, and he did so in victorious fashion, stopping 38 year old American Mike Snider (13-6-3, 8) in the 4th round.
The Indian, who hadn't fought since a December 2017 win over Ernest Amuzu, was not only ending a lengthy break from action but also making his US debut. Despite the long lay off his skills and pedigree showed through ash he picked apart the poor Snider with ease, making Snider look wild, slopping and ineffective from the early going.
After just a couple of rounds it seemed like the question of "who" would win was already answered, and the real question was just "how long" would Singh take. That was answered in round 4 when a flurry from Singh forced the referee to save Snider, at an official time of 1:23.
The plan is for Singh to return to the ring later this year, possibly even twice, as he restarts his climb to major fight. It would seem likely that he will be built quickly by Top Rank, given he's 33, and their is a chance, albeit a dwindling one, that he could end up getting a world title fight before his career is over. That#'s if he and Top Rank are busy over the next 12 months, and the right fights are selected for the unbeaten Indian hopeful
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