"I have always tried to see good in everything happening with me. Even after eliminating in the London Olympics Quarterfinals, I said to myself that, 'Don't lose heart, God has his own plans'. This is what gives me the strength to face any challenge and become stronger." – Vijender Singh
Vijender Singh, the pride of the nation in Boxing has always been positive in life and this has helped him to face all the challenge. The First Indian boxer to win a medal at the Olympics and currently best known as the WBO Asia Pacific Champion recently rose to the 6th position in WBO rankings. It is really interesting to know the inside story of Vijender of becoming one of the best boxers.
Early Life and Background
Virender Singh was born on 29 October 1985 in a poor family in a village Kaluwas located near Bhiwani in Haryana, India. His father, Mahipal Singh Beniwal used to work extra hours in order to send him to school. He got his initial education in his village and then received his Bachelor's degree from Vaish College of Bhiwani. Initially, it was his elder brother Manoj, who decided to learn boxing. Vijender got inspired by his brother and also decided to join boxing. However, it was only after Manoj entered the Indian Army in 1998 with the help of Boxing credentials, Vijender got full financial support from his brother and he joined Bhiwani Boxing club. Indian Boxing coach Jagdish Singh recognized his talent and encouraged him to take up boxing as a professional career while practicing at the Bhiwani Boxing Club. During this time, he even tried modeling to support his training as a part-time.
A Glorious Career and Journey
Vijender got his first recognition after winning about in state-level competitions which were followed by a silver and gold medal in sub-junior nationals in 1997 and 2000 respectively. However, it was in 2003, when his career takes a turning point after he won a silver medal in the 2003 Afro-Asian games. Soon his boxing style, hooks, and cut are compared by the media with the famous character Rocky the Rocky film series. He has won many medals and titles since then and a few of his outings at International events are as follows.
2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games: Vijender won the silver medal after defeating England's Neil Perkins in the semifinal but lost to South Africa's Bongani Mwelase in the final.
2006 Doha Asian Games: Vijender took part in the competition under middleweight (75 Kg) division for the first time and won a bronze medal after losing semifinal to Kazakhstan's Bakhtiyar Artayev.
2008 Beijing Olympics: In the 2008 Summer Olympics, Vijender defeated Ecuadorian boxer Carlos Gongora with a score of 9-4 in the quarterfinals that earned the bronze medal and he became the first Indian boxer to win an Olympic medal. He lost to Cuba’s Emilio in the semi-finals and has to satisfy with the Bronze medal only.
2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and Guangzhou Asian games: 2010 proved to be more productive for Vijender in terms of medals. He went on grabbing a bronze medal in Delhi Commonwealth games which was followed by a gold medal in Guangzhou Asian games.
2014 Commonwealth Games, Glasgow: Vijender defeated England’s Antony Fowler to claim the silver medal.
Singh turned to professional boxing in June 2015 and left his amateur career when he signed a multi-year agreement with Queensberry Promotions through IOS Sports and Entertainment. He fought his first professional fight against British Sonny Whiting and won that match by knocking him out. Presently, he has a hundred percent record in the professional career with record 10 wins out of 10 fights.
Undoubtedly Vijender Singh is best ever boxer India has ever seen. He is not only bringing the laurels for India but also working to guide the young talent in Boxing. He recently won the WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title after defeating China's Zulpikar Maimaitiali. He dedicated his win to India- China friendship at the time of tension between two countries over infamous Doklam issue which shows him as a responsible citizen of his country. He is a perfect role model for the young generation which should follow his footprints to reach the top in wrestling and other sports as well.