Dubai: To borrow a phrase from cricket — a sport that he blames for obstructing growth of other sport in his native India, Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh says he is ready to take a fresh guard to confront the challenges that await in the second half of his career.
Last weekend, Singh posted the 12th consecutive victory of his career since turning pro when he recorded a unanimous decision victory over Ghana’s former Commonwealth champion Charles Adamu at Rotunda Rumble 2 at Caesar’s Palace.
A bronze medallist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Singh had predicted an early knockout which was not forthcoming, partly due his rival’s durability and in part to his own errant strategy where he was relying on landing a big right.
“It went okay, but I really wanted the knockout to prove that I’m one of the best in the division (super middleweight) but all credit to Charles, he’s a difficult opponent,” Singh told Gulf News.
“Look, I’m here ready to continue my progress up the ranks. I did a couple of things that perhaps were not necessary over the last couple of years and as a result I did not commit one hundred per cent to my boxing.
“But that’s not going to happen anymore. I’m very focused and ready for whatever lies ahead. I’ll fight anyone in the division, in Asia on the world. I’m even willing to take on Canelo Alvarez if I get the chance. It may not happen, but you get what I mean. I want to take on the best to prove that I’m the best.
“I really believe I am. I’m very happy at where I am right now in my career with 12 wins, but I’ve still got a long way to go to establish my credentials as a top boxer,” said the Haryana-born fighter.
But Alvarez, the Mexican who is a four-weight world champion?
“I respect all my opponents, that I do,” said Singh. “But I’m not afraid of taking on anyone. I’m here to stay and here to prove myself to the world. That’s my goal now.”
Singh, who has come a long way since he announced his arrival when he won a silver medal in his first sub-junior nationals in 1997, also called out to the authorities in India to pay more attention to individual sports like boxing.
“Things have improved in recent years but there is a still a lot that can be done to help the sport grow,” he said. “Unfortunately the sports officials in the country are only focused on one sport (cricket), and that’s not helping sports like boxing.
“I did it on my own, right from the beginning and even now. I did not fight the whole of last year and then I got lucky and signed with American based Top Rank on a multi-year contract.
“My hunger is back and I’m putting in more hours in the gym. I’m feeling good and when you feel good you want to test yourself against the best fighters out there,” he added.
“I’m ready guys, come and get me.”