Vijender Singh vs Artysh Lopsan Pro-Boxing Match: After a 15 month wait, India’s pro-boxing star Vijender Singh eyes a successful comeback when he takes on Russia’s Artysh Lopsan in the first of its kind ‘Battle on Ship’ bout in Goa on March 19. The 36-year-old will enter the ring with a 12-match unbeaten streak. Vijender, although the older of the two competitors believe age is just a number and there have been examples of older boxers doing well. “Age will just be a number for me. and I will prove it. I may be 36, but I feel like 23,” the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist chuckles.
The Bhiwani-born boxer’s last bout was against Ghana’s Charles Adamu, the former Commonwealth champion, in November 2019. His victory march was disrupted by the COVID-19
pandemic but in the meantime, he trained alongside youngsters from Jhajjar, Faridabad, and Bhiwani, and with former Commonwealth bronze-medallist Jai Bhagwan as his coach.
“It has been 15 months since I last fought. But I started my training around the first week of January. I started training with Jai (Bhagwan), my coach and my best friend. I did sparring with boxers, who are also Asian medallists, from Jhajjar, Faridabad and Bhiwani,” he says.
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However, returning to the ring was not easy for the veteran boxer. He faced a series of injuries while training which also brought in a lot of negative feelings. Vijender says, he had doubts initially but drew inspiration from ageing veterans like Mike Tyson and Mary Kom. “Initially, it was tough when I returned to the rings. I did face injuries a few times. But making a comeback is not tough. I drew inspiration from Mike Tyson and Mary Kom. They have been at the top of their game after returning, then why not me,” he says.
This will be the fifth bout on home soil for Vijender who is the reigning WBO Oriental Super Middleweight and WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight champion. On why Goa was chosen as the location, Vijender informed that Goa has less number of coronavirus cases as compared to Delhi or Mumbai. “We chose Goa because the pandemic cases are very less. Plus Goa is a sports-loving state. It will be fun,” Vijender added.
Interestingly it will not be an easy eight-round bout for the Indian boxer. Lopsan, in a young career as a professional boxer, boasts a decent record. In six bouts, the Russian has defeated four, including two knockouts, while registering one defeat and as many draw.
The 6ft 3inch Russian last competed in December 2020, where he registered a victory. He says, he knows Vijender will be the favourite but he is ready to end the Indian boxer’s unbeaten streak. “Vijender is a good fighter but I’m here to end his unbeaten streak. I’m ready and it’s going to be a great fight in Goa. My coach and I have studied Vijender carefully. What better way to end his streak than knocking him down in front of his audience? I’ve trained hard for this fight and I’m raring to go,” the Russian boxer says.
The bout will live telecast on BookMyShow as a pay-per-view. Fans can watch the fight live for a subscription of Rs 99.