'There is more responsibility because it is India versus China and right now the situation is bad.'
Vijender Singh reveals his plans for Saturday's 'Battleground Asia' double title fight.
Rediff.com's Harish Kotian listens in.
Eager to return to the ring after an eight month wait, WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight Champion Vijender Singh just can't wait for Saturday's double title bout against China's Zulpikar Maimaitiali in Mumbai.
"We have the weigh in on Friday. My sparring partner will also arrive tonight (Wednesday night), so far everything is on track and going on well," Vijender told the media in Mumbai. "I am totally confident of doing well."
"I can't say it will go to three or four rounds. I am looking to finish it as soon as possible," the boxer said on Wednesday, August 2, after a live training session with his trainer Lee Beard.
The only Indian male boxer to win an Olympic medal, 31-year-old Vijender will put his WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title on the line against the 22-year-old Chinese boxer who is looking to defend his WBO Oriental Super Middleweight title with the winner of the bout crowned 'King of Asia'.
So far, Vijender has enjoyed a dream run on the pro circuit, winning his first eight fights, including seven knockouts, since making his debut two years after a stellar career at the amateur level.
"I am experienced. He has just had eight fights so far. I don't consider him an experienced boxer," Vijender said, adding, "but he has scored around five-six knockouts. He is a strong kid, I can say that."
"I am ready for him and we have a game plan in place to fight him."
"My coach has told me to stay calm and not be in a hurry. There will be a lot of people supporting you, cheering for you; there will be a lot of noise, but stay calm," Vijender said, adding that he has invited actor friends from Bollywood and other celebrities for the big fight.
Lee Beard, Vijender's coach, felt his ward is in perfect shape going into the fight and it is a question of just keeping him relaxed.
"All the work from now on will be to keep his mind set, keep him relaxed and calm. All the hard work is only about him just being relaxed and in a good frame of mind. His body is in great shape, so just to make sure he is not doing anything crazy," Beard said.
"He has his weigh in on Friday, so it's about him being chilled out before the fight on Saturday," Beard added.
"It's all about his mental preparation now, physically he is doing well. He know what the game plan is, he knows what exactly to do in the ring on Saturday night."
Maimatiali, Vijender said, "is young and he might make mistakes. He will rush like in the first round, he will try to take control of things and that is the time you should be calm."
"He is a southpaw, he is trying to rush and trying to finish off fights. I will need to be calm, stay away from making mistakes and use my height to my advantage and just stay focussed."
"We will have to pace it well. If he is coming in aggressively, then I will react accordingly. I can't say I will do this or do that, it all depends on the situation," the Indian boxing ace stated.
The current India-China military standoff in the Doklam Plateau, Vijender felt, added a lot of spice to the fight, but for him the enhanced expectation means a lot of responsibility rather than extra pressure.
"There is more responsibility (than pressure) because it is India versus China and right now the situation is bad. So I would say it is kind of responsibility," he said.
Though he wants to finish off the fight at the earliest, Vijender said he is capable of lasting the distance if needed.
"I am totally fit for 10 rounds," the boxer assured the Mumbai media. If "I get the knockout in the early rounds, then it's good. There's nothing planned in boxing that we will finish it in the third or fourth round."
"I am not Muhammed Ali that I can say exactly which round I will finish the bout. If I score a knockout in the early rounds, then it's fine, else I am ready for 10 rounds as well," he added.
Vijender's family won't be present ringside to cheer for him.
"My family never comes for my fights," Vijender said. "My wife (Archana) is a religious person and my son's (Abeer) fourth birthday is on August 4 and I will be fighting on August 5, so I will be missing it."
"Maybe I will Facetime him and wish him on his birthday," Vijender added, "I will miss being with him on his special day."