Vijender Singh

Biography

Vijender Singh Beniwal (born 29 October 1985), better known as Vijender Singh is an Indian professional boxer and the current WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight Champion and WBO Oriental Super Middleweight Champion from Kaluwas, Bhiwani district in Haryana. He was educated in his village, after which he received a bachelor’s degree from a local college in Bhiwani. He practised boxing at the Bhiwani Boxing Club where coach Jagdish Singh recognised his talent and encouraged him to take up boxing. He was coached by the Indian Boxing Coach Jagdish Singh.

Having won medals in different competitions at the national level, Vijender was picked to train and compete at several international level competitions such as the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. At the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, he won the Bronze medal after losing the semifinal bout against Kazakhstan’s Bakhtiyar Artayev. At the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, he defeated Carlos Góngora of Ecuador 9–4 in the quarterfinals which garnered him a bronze medal—the first ever Olympic medal for an Indian boxer.

After this win, Vijender was given a number of awards, including the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award—India’s highest sporting honour and Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour. In 2009, he participated at the World Amateur Boxing Championships where he won the bronze medal. In the same year, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) announced Vijender as the top-ranked boxer in its annual middleweight category list with 2800 points. Vijender represented India at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

On 29 June 2015, Vijender Singh bid adieu to his amateur career by turning professional as he signed a multi-year agreement with Queensberry Promotions through IOS Sports and Entertainment. This ruled him out of 2016 Olympics as he no longer remains eligible as an amateur.
Regional success
It was confirmed on 15 November 2016 that Singh would make his first title defence at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex in New Delhi, India against former world champion Francis Cheka. At the time the fight was made, Cheka was the World Boxing Federation Intercontinental super middleweight champion and would prove to be Singh’s most experienced opponent since he turned professional. Singh successfully defended his title in an impressive technical knockout win over Cheka in the 3rd round. According to Frank Warren, the fight garnered an average 60 million viewers and had an attendance of 15,000 at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex. Following the fight, Singh stated he could challenge for the Commonwealth or Oriental title in 2017, whether that be in the UK or in India. In 2017, he was awarded Prayukti Samman 2017 by Dainik Prayukti on 31 March 2017 at Constitution Club of India, Delhi.

In an official statement by Team Singh on 12 May, it was confirmed that Singh had parted ways with Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions with immediate effect, whilst remaining with IOS Boxing Promotions. The reason behind this was “Queensberry not honoring and delivering their contractual obligations for more than a year”.

In June 2017, the WBO confirmed that they would sanction a regional unification fight between Singh and WBO Oriental super middleweight champion Zulpikar Maimaitiali of China. New India Express announced the fight, billed as “Battleground Asia” would take place on 5 August 2017 at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Indoor Stadium in Mumbai. On 26 July, IOS Boxing Promotions and Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions announced that they had reached a deal to work together once again. Singh retained his Asia Pacific title and won the Oriential title after the fight went to the scorecards after 10 rounds. The judges scored the fight 96-93, 95-94, 95-94 in favour of Singh. Although the fight was scored close, Singh seemed to have the fight under control using his height and reach. In round six, Maimaitiali was docked a point for repeated low blows after being warned in previous rounds. Had he not been docked a point, the fight would have ended as a majority draw. After the bout, Singh praised his opponent, “I didn’t expect him to fight so well and last the distance. I thought this would last for a maximum of 5-6 rounds. Hence I didn’t fight according to my strategies. I just want to tell China, please don’t come to our border. This is for peace.” He said about the bout, “The blows disturbed me. He has been fantastic. His aggression was terrific.” He also offered the title back to Maimaitiali, as a message for peace. This was in relation to the recent border tension between India and China.

On 16 November 2017, the Commonwealth Boxing Council ordered Rocky Fielding to defend his super middleweight title against Singh. Frank Warren won the bid and stated the fight would take place on 31 March 2018 at the CopperBox Arena in London.

On 4 December 2017, upon announcing Vijender Singh Promotions, Singh announced that he would next fight on 23 December against Ghanian boxer Ernest Amuzu (23-2, 21 KOs) in Jaipur. Singh retained his regional titles with a dominant 10 round decision win. All three judges scored the fight 100-90 in favour of Singh, who improved to 10 wins and no losses.