Explained: How does Vijender’s first loss as a professional boxer affect his future?

Boxing Sports News

Shared News: Updated: March 21, 2021 10:28:37 am
Vijender’s opponent was four inches taller, nine years younger, and decidedly better. The Indian meanwhile looked every bit a 35-year-old boxer who hadn’t fought in 15 months. The TKO defeat means Vijender’s record now stands at 12-1.

Vijender Singh‘s unbeaten run as a professional boxer came to an end on Friday, with a loss to Artysh Lopsan of Russia in Panaji.

Vijender’s opponent was four inches taller, nine years younger, and decidedly better. The Indian meanwhile looked every bit a 35-year-old boxer who hadn’t fought in 15 months. The TKO defeat means Vijender’s record now stands at 12-1.

How did the fight go?

Vijender was defeated, in all sense of the word. In the fourth round, he was knocked down five times!

The Indian began strongly, cracking Lopsan on the head to send him down in the second round. It was all Lopsan thereafter. The 6’4 Russian overwhelmed Vijender at close range, dealing damage with sharp, short uppercuts.

By the fourth round, Vijender looked exhausted and damaged, and Lopsan sent him to his knees five times, prompting calls of “Khelega? Khelega? (Do you want to continue?” from his teammate-turned-coach Jai Bhagwan.

After surviving the fourth round, Vijender launched a wild flurry on the Russian before another left uppercut put him down. On his knees, Vijender shook his head repeatedly to concede the fight.

“Winning and losing is part of the game. It was just not my day. I always believe in working hard and I’m sure I’ll make a strong comeback to the ring soon,” Vijender issued a statement on Saturday.

How does the loss affect the world title fight chances?

It doesn’t, since a world championship fight for Vijender wasn’t realistic, to begin with. While a possible world title bout had been bandied about since Vijender turned pro in 2015, he was never in the running. Vijender won the World Boxing Organisation’s (WBO) regional super-middleweight titles (Asia Pacific and Oriental) but seems to have been stripped of the belts due to inactivity; he was second in last month’s WBO Asia Pacific rankings, a list headed by Australian Zac Dunn who hasn’t fought in two years.

Vijender is ranked outside of the overall Top 15 of the WBO super middleweight rankings. And reigning his division are world champions and future Hall-of-Famers Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders.

What next for Vijender?

Not an undefeated boxer anymore, Vijender’s draw power certainly takes a hit. He is still signed with Bob Arum’s Top Rank promotions and iOS promotions in India. But the going has been rough in terms of fights and opponents.

Vijender fought in the US in July 2019 on a card promoted by Top Rank. He was expected to fight in the US last year before the pandemic scrapped all plans. Vijender was confident of a fight later in the year but it didn’t materialise, even though Top Rank resumed operations in June.

However, India’s first Olympic medallist boxer, remains a pedigreed pugilist and has smartly thrown in an idea for a rematch against Lopsan.

“I will surely come back stronger and beat him in Moscow,” he told reporters after his defeat.

Leave a Reply