"Given the Indo-China situation, I feel the responsibility," says Vijender Singh ahead of bout against Zulpikar Maimaitiali
What's the story?
Neighbours India and China are in a hostile phase of their uneasy relationship with tensions rising over border issues. On the sporting front, India's Vijender Singh and China's Zulpikar Maimaitiali are set to face off at "Battleground Asia" in Mumbai on Saturday and the Indian pugilist says that the event makes him feel responsible for the nation given the uneasy relationship the two countries currently share.
After an open training session, Vijender Singh interacted with the media ahead of Saturday's bout. When asked about feeling the pressure ahead of a bout with a Chinese opponent, he told Sportskeeda, "I will say that there is responsibility. It is India-China and the situation is bad right now, so I feel a kind of responsibility (towards the country)."
In case you didn't know
India and China are currently engaged in a border standoff near the India, Bhutan and China border tri-junction.This comes after China allegedly tried to build a road that encroached on Bhutan's territory and would put India at a strategic disadvantage.
Vijender is due to fight Maimaitiali, where the Indian pugilists' WBO Super Middleweight Asia Pacific Championship will be on the line alongside his opponent's Oriental Championship in the same weight category.
The heart of the matter
The 30-year old was also asked if the border situation would play on his mind during the fight, to which he said that it would not only be on his mind but also on the minds of the entire population.
He added that there were people coming to watch the fight all the way to Mumbai from the U.K and the U.S.A as an Indian was being given the chance to set things right against a familiar foe.
The high stakes bout is set to be fought on the 5th of August in Mumbai and according to Vijender, preparations are in full flow. The pugilist is practicing meditation for mental conditioning as a part of his training regimen to keep his mind from off-field distractions.
The two boxers have also been engaged in a war of words ahead of Friday's weigh in and that too has heated up anticipation and excitement ahead of Saturday's contest.
Given the current border standoff and the low-key hostility between the two nations, Vijender Singh winning the bout will surely provide a fillip to the Indian population. The nations' hopes are riding on the Olympic bronze medal winner and his confident demeanour suggests that the Indian population will be in for a pleasant surprise come the 5th of August.