Vijender Singh optimistic of bout within the next few months

More than six months have passed since he last stepped onto the ring but India’s Vijender Singh is hopeful of getting back to competition in the next three months after his U.S.-based promoter restarted bouts earlier this month. Signed by Hall of Famer Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions in 2018, Vijender was last seen in action in November, 2019, when he defeated Ghana’s Charles Adamu to keep his unbeaten record intact in the professional circuit.

The 2008 Olympic bronze-medallist told PTI that he has had a word with Top Rank and plans were afoot for a fight to be held by October. “It will be outside India because it is unlikely that restrictions because of COVID-19 pandemic will ease by then. From what I gather, in the next two-three months, I will probably be able to fight,” the 34-year-old said.

Top Rank resumed action amid the pandemic on June 9 with Olympic silver-medallist Shakur Stevenson defeating Felix Caraballo in a TV-only event held without spectators. “That’s the future given the situation. I think that’s how professional boxing will be. Unfortunate but that’s how it will adapt,” said Vijender.

‘Safety first’

Speaking of adapting to the new normal in the pandemic-scarred world, the former amateur world bronze-medallist said fans should be kept away completely for the time being even if action resumed. “First of all, there shouldn’t be a rush. Secondly, you just cannot have crowds. I know they add to the atmosphere but safety first. You have to take every precaution to ensure that this doesn’t spread,” he said.

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“The post-COVID[-19] world would be great for broadcasters and advertisers because there is immense hunger for live sports right now,” he added.

“Boxing is easier to conduct in that sense because a very limited number of people are involved in action. They can be tested and kept in a bio-secure zone to ensure that nothing untoward happens.”

And when does he see live sports resuming in India? “India has always been an unpredictable country, one can never be sure how things pan out here,” he laughed.

“On a serious note, I would only urge utmost caution before any decision on resuming competitions is taken,” he added.