The Vijender Singh juggernaut rolled on without a glitch as the Indian boxing star took less than 10 minutes to successfully defend his WBO Asia-Pacific Super Middleweight title with an emphatic Technical Knockout win over Tanzania’s Francis Cheka here on Saturday. Vijender landed the winning blow in the third round of what was to be a 10-round contest to leave on the former World Champion Cheka dazed and a packed Thyagraj Stadium delirious.
“I trained hard in Manchester for two months for this. I thank all my coaches for the effort they put in. Cheka talked so much but I believed in my punch power, and I have done it,” Vijender said after the bout. Celebrities adorned the front rows surrounding the ring. From five-time world champion M C Mary Kom to Minister of State for Home Affairs Kirren Rijiju to star wrestling duo of Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt, it was a power-packed front row to cheer for Vijender from ringside.
Walking in to the now trademark tune of ‘Singh is King’, Vijender had the crowd excited even before he entered the ring. When the bout finally kicked off, Cheka seemed quicker off the blocks even as Vijender played block and dodge. However, the Indian got into the groove soon enough and landed lusty uppercut to the body to rattle Cheka. Cheka seemed on the backfoot in the second round and was wary of having a go at the hard-hitting Haryana-lad, who stuck to landing clean and straight blows. Cheka was also undone by the reach advantage that Vijender enjoyed.
While Cheka struggled to keep his balance owing to his shorter reach, Vijender put his long arms to good use. Earlier, the three Indians Rajesh Kumar (61kg), Deepak Tanwar(67kg), Dharmendra Grewal(95kg) and Kuldeep Dhanda emerged victorious against Uganda’s Mubakaraka Sseguya, Indonesia’s Sutriyono Bara Boys, Uganda’s Abasi Kyobe and Indonesia’s Egy Rozten respectively.
The only Indian to lose in the night was Pardeep Kharkera in a 67kg bout against Australian Scott Edward. With the win, Indian star Vijender Singh took his tally to 8-0 in the professional circuit having earlier beaten Sonny Whiting, Dean Gillen, Samet Hyuseinov, Alexander Horvath, Matiouze Royer, Andrzej Soldra and Kerry Hope who he beat to win the WBO Asia-Pacific Super Middleweight title.