Vijender Singh Vs Zulpikar Maimaitiali: Full Fight Video Highlights and Results
Watch the highlights here.
With two titles on line in the same fight, the stakes were really high for both the unbeaten boxers from neighbouring countries. However, a bloodied and gasping Vijender held fort as he came out the winner, extending his unbeaten run to nine in pro-boxing.
The match began defensively and the superstar from Bhiwani made the first contact after over a minute of countering. Tackling a southpaw like Zulpikar was difficult and for that Vijender switched his leading and countering hands which made his opponent uncomfortable. A big punch by the Chinese at the end of round 1 settled the scores though.
Next round started on the defensive front as well with both the boxers looking ways to get the better of each other. With the game not going in the Chinese's favour, he became aggressive and landed a low blow, for which he was given a warning. But he continued to be aggressive, punching Vijender in the face multiple times. The next round began with a few inaccurate punches by the Indian, a common trait in all of the following rounds.
Zulpikar kept on landing accurate punches from time to time on the Haryana star. However, luck was not in his favour as another low blow in round 6 stripped him of a point. Vijender heaved a sigh of relief and turned defensive for the last minute of the round. 18 minutes of hardcore boxing had taken a toll on the 31-year-old and his left eye and nose were left badly bruised. Zulpikar took advantage of this and landed a few lusty blows to Vijender's face as blood gushed out of the latter's nose.
However, the former world champion then snuck in a beautiful right upper cut that shook the young Chinese. By the end of the round 8, the southpaw realized that his opponent had almost no energy left and caught hold of Vijender twice. This made the last two rounds "now or never" for the Indian.
The last round saw Zulpikar being stripped off another point due to low blows.
In the end, the 2008 Olympics bronze medallist and former world number 1 turned out to be a winner with the scores of 96-93, 95-94, 95-94 in what turned out to be the toughest fight of his life.
However, two belts on one waist covered up for all the lost energy and blood in the end as he made India proud again.