It’s baby steps, all right. That’s how Vijender Singh began his professional career against Sonny Whiting at Manchester Arena, UK last Saturday.
The 2008 Olympic bronze winner was a forerunner throughout the fight making his opponent look decidedly amateurish.
Is it a promise of better things to come?
We shall know soon enough.
The strapping young man has his next bout scheduled for October 30.
Many believed that Vijender had left it too late—turning professional.
The Indian never forgot his homeland, draping himself in a tricolour robe and matching shorts for his first fight.
Vijender admits he was nervous.
“I wasn’t worried about my opponent or anything. It was simply because I hadn’t boxed in a ring for a really long time. I had last boxed at the Commonwealth Games, and after that I had been doing my police training and then I had some film and TV commitments.”
Loneliness is a constant companion.
Moving to a new city, Manchester, and settling down to a regimented life is a sea change from his training days in Patiala.
”You feel a bit homesick. Its a bit difficult because when I was part of the Indian squad and trained in Patiala, after a session I always had someone to talk to especially after a hard days work. So I definitely miss my teammates from India. I am the only Indian boxer training here. In amateur boxing there were like 2-3 boxers with me in the changing room all the time but right now I am all alone with my trainers so there is a difference.I have to deal with these things by myself right now. But it doesn’t matter because these things usually make you tougher.”
Vijender misses his native tongue, Punjabi.
“Logon ki zuban alag hai yahan. (The language here is different). When I go to an Indian or Pakistani restaurant, the food is nice but it is a good feeling to speak to someone in Punjabi for a change.”
The Haryana police officer is not one to rest on his laurels.
He knows he has a long way to go.
“There’s still a long way to go. I have just had one fight and I have won that. I’d absolutely love to fight Floyd (Mayweather) or Manny, they are legendary boxers. They have been in this circuit for a long time and I will take time to reach at their level.”
The man certainly is making the right noises. And he has kept his end up so far.
He is the beacon who can guide Indian boxers to greater heights.
Shine on, Vijender.