New Delhi: The big challenges thrown at him have mostly ended up being mere talk and Indian boxing star Vijender Singh would look to prove it one more time when he takes on former world champion Francis Cheka to defend the WBO Asia Pacific super middleweight title defence in New Delhi on Saturday.
Undefeated in the circuit so far, Vijender won the title in July by beating former European champion Kerry Hope of Australia. In the 10-round title defence contest on Saturday, Vijender will be up against his most experienced rival so far.
The reticent Indian has been a shade different from his international counterparts in the pro circuit given that he avoids big talk no matter how big the provocation is. At the official pre-bout weigh-in on Friday where he turned in exactly 76kg, Vijender and Cheka faced off for one last time before the much-hyped bout.
While the Indian was his usual calm self, Cheka seemed high on excitement and declared that “I will now talk in the ring”. Vijender, with a wry smile on his face, retorted, “My job is punching and I will do that tomorrow, this title isn’t going anywhere.”
The 34-year-old Cheka, who hails from Tanzania, is a veteran of 43 fights with 32 wins including 17 KO’s. To break down the numbers even more, Cheka has racked up 300 gruelling rounds in the 16 years of his career compared to Vijender’s 27. Vijender, on the other hand, has been clinical at best so far. The Haryana-lad, who etched his name in history books as India’s first Olympic medallist in boxing, has been dismantling opponents with a calm not usually associated with professional boxing.
The night will also feature five undercard bouts featuring greenhorns in the pro circuit. In 67kg weight category, Pardeep Kharera will be up against Scott Edwards, who comes from Australia. Scott has previously fought four bouts and has been victorious in all. In the same weight category Deepak Tanwar will take on Sutriyono Bara Boys from Indonesia.
In 61kg, Kuldeep Dhanda is pitted against Egy Rozten, who hails from Indonesia. Rozten has 19 bouts and has own five bouts with three KO wins. Also, Rajesh Kumar will take on Mubaraka Sseguya from Uganda, who has 11 bouts with 40 rounds under his belt, with a total of 8 wins and 4 KO’s. In 95kg category, Dharmender Grewal will take on Abasi Kyobe from Uganda.