Zulpikar Maimaitiali: 5 things you should know about Vijender Singh's next opponent
What can easily be called Asia's biggest showdown of the year is slated to be held on Saturday and fans are waiting for it with bated breath. Battleground Asia will see undefeated Indian Vijender Singh come face to face with Chinese No. 1 Zulpikar Maimaitiali for a double title fight on the 5th of this month, putting their respective WBO titles at stake.
While the world prepares to watch the boxing spectacle in full vigour, here are five things about Maimaitiali, the WBO Oriental Super Middleweight Champion that our homegrown Singh is to match against, that may intrigue you.
1. A champion at just 23: Maimaitiali started out in the ring early. He was only 21 years old when he started his professional career in boxing, which goes on to say a lot about the will power and dedication that he possesses. He debuted in 2015, the same year that Singh did, and has come to bag many accolades in these two years.
2. He has eight out of nine bouts to his name: The Chinese boxer has had nine bouts in his professional career with 27 rounds under his belt. Of the nine fights, he has won eight while another was a draw. He also owns an impressive record of six knockouts wins and has been undefeated so far. One of these wins resulted in his WBO Oriental Super Middleweight title last July.
3. He ranks well in his country and the world: With a reach of 184 cm and a 67 per cent success rate in landing his punches, it comes as no surprise that he is No. 1 in his country, China. His undefeated status and accolades have also put the southpaw boxer 127th rank in the world.
4. He had refused to fight against Singh earlier: Surprisingly, Maimaitiali challenged Singh for a bout again after he initially withdrew from a scheduled contest which was to take place in April, without citing any specific reasons. Despite this, he has not backed down in his sense of confidence and seems pretty sure he is going to beat his opponent at the back of close to 10 hours of practice a day. This comeback has incited more excitement within the fans towards the upcoming match, while Singh has maintained a composed stance.
5. He is a big Bollywood fan: This might be the Chinese No.1’s first trip to India but he seems to have acquainted himself well with the film industry here. He claims to be a huge fan of Bollywood and has watched movies starring Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan. He was also reportedly heard saying that he could relate to the movie Dangal a lot, as his father coached him as a child like the movie portrays.