What's the story?
The current WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight Champion and WBO Oriental Super Middleweight Champion from India, Vijender Singh seems to have a fight in his hands, his first of 2018. The Commonwealth Boxing Council has reportedly ordered the vacant Commonwealth super-middleweight title to be put on the line on 31st March 2018 at the Copperbox Arena, London, UK, with his opponent possibly being Lee 'Banjo' Markham.
The fight is yet to be confirmed by both the boxers.
In case you didn't know
The 2008 Olympic bronze medalist from India, who turned pro in June 2015, has since fought 10 times, and each time, at the end of the fight, has seen his hand raised by the referee. 7 times out of the 10, the fight had to be stopped midway by the referee, citing either a knockout or a technical knockout. Such has been the dominance exerted by the poster boy of boxing from India, that he has now risen to the 6th position in the WBO Rankings in the super-middleweight category.
After his recent fight with Ernest Amuzu on 23rd December 2017 in Jaipur's Sawai Mansingh Indoor Stadium, where he dominated his opponent throughout the match and defended his titles, he expressed his desire to fight for bigger titles, especially the Commonwealth title, in the UK. The reigning champion at that time was Rocky Fielding.
The heart of the matter
The Commonwealth Boxing Council had ordered Rocky Fielding to defend his title in March, with Frank Warren having acquired the rights and announcing that it would take place on March 31, 2018. However, the British boxer had insisted on upping the notch by fighting for the European title and hence, rejected the proposed fight.
Now, according to the latest Commonwealth Boxing Council bulletin, Rocky Fielding has vacated his Commonwealth title to get an opportunity for a bigger title fight. With this, the path for Vijender Singh to stake his claim for the title now seems clear.
Lee Markham recently retweeted a comment on this fight on his Twitter account, increasing speculations about the possibility of the fight.
The British boxer, who has fought 22 bouts, is more experienced than his Indian counterpart. He has competed in 142 rounds, as against the 50 of Vijender Singh. However, he lost 4 bouts and drawn one, with the most recent loss coming off the last fight he competed, in June 2017. But, it's not the first time that the odds are stacked against the Indian superstar. He will surely back himself to win this one
While it remains to be seen as to when the bout is confirmed, it is definitely a great opportunity for the ageing Indian, who has kick-started his professional career rather late. He won't have a lot of time to achieve glory slowly, step-by-step, as the other boxers do.
After a dry and disappointing 2017 involving only 2 fights, he ended up severing ties with Queensberry Promotions. Now, after announcing his own 'Vijender Singh Promotions', he would have to plan his fights carefully and systematically, so as to achieve his dreams of etching his name on the boxing Hall of Fame.
Only time will tell if he does that.