Vijender’s dream to hold two championship belts in his weight category has hit a roadblock as Zulpikar Maimaitiali of China has refused to fight the Indian boxing star scheduled to take place on 1st April in Mumbai. Maimaitiali backed out from the fight without giving any specific reasons but the event will go ahead as per the schedule with a new rival.
The champion pugilist from Bhiwani, Haryana currently holds the WBO Asia-Pacific belt which he won last year beating Australia’s Kerry Hope. Vijender successfully defended his title by powering the past Tanzania's Francis Cheka in December 2016.
The Vijender-Zulpikar super middleweight bout was to be a double Asian title fight, as the Chinese boxer Maimaitiali is a WBO Oriental title holder.
— Veejay Singh (@SinghVeejay) February 24, 2017
As per the reports, talks between the IOS Boxing Promotions (Vijender’s promoters) and the promoters of Zulpikar failed to reach a conclusion. The promoters of the Chinese boxer refused to provide any further information about the abrupt pull-out ahead of the fight.
However, according to the IOS Boxing Promotion MD Neerav Tomar the event will go ahead as planned but with a new opponent in the ring.
He said, "Zulpikar has refused to fight Vijender Singh, but that does not mean that the fight will not take place, it is likely to happen later in the year. However, bout set to happen on 1st April in Mumbai has not changed. We are talking to other boxers in the same category as Vijender Singh and we will announce the opponent soon," as quoted by PTI.
Singh’s promoters are now mulling different options and are in talks with other international boxing champions who fight in the same weight category. Despite the latest update, the 30-year old boxer has maintained a positive approach about the event, he said, "I like to take things positively, I am sure Zulpikar has his reasons for not fighting. However, I am ready to fight whoever is my next opponent, my promoters are working towards it and I am sure they will come up with another challenger. I am preparing myself for whoever is willing to fight.”
Vijender currently boasts off an unbeaten record 8-0 on the pro circuit which includes seven knockouts. The fight night will also mark the professional debut of Olympians Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar.