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Vijender Singh’s Olympic Medal Nothing, Says Francis Cheka; Indian Laughs Off

Vijender Singh’s WBO Asia Pacific super middle-weight title challenger Francis Cheka surely knows how to make headline. The Tanzanian boxer said the Indian’s 2008 Olympics medal is of no value and he will prove it during their fight on December 17.

The Indian ace refrained from making any direct comment on the statement and said he would rather reserve his answer for teh bout.

“I will answer him in the ring. He was lucky he made the statement during the weigh-in, if he would have said it in public, he would know the value of my medal,” Vijender told NDTV.

Earlier, Cheka said: “Vijender’s Olympic medal is nothing. I am a World Champion and inter-continental champion. On December 17, Vijender will know why I am a world champion. I feel sorry India has picked Vijender to fight me. Vijender looks scared already. India will be ashamed on Saturday.”

Vijender, who won the WBO Asia Pacific title, by defeating Australia Kerry Hope earlier this year said he would give his all to defend the title.

“I would give my hundred per cent against Cheka. The title is very dear to me,” he said.

The organisers of the December 17 bout faced difficulty to arrange sponsors due to demonetisation, but Vijender said the step would be good in long term.

“Demonetisation is a knockout punch by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It’s effect will be visible in the long run,” he said.

Vijender Singh to Defend Title Against Ex-World Champion Francis Cheka

Vijender Singh to Defend Title Against Ex-World Champion Francis Cheka

New Delhi: Indian boxing star Vijender Singh will face the most accomplished opponent of his professional career when he defends his WBO Super Middleweight Asia Pacific title against former world and current intercontinental Champion Francis Cheka here on December 17.

The 34-year-old experienced boxer from Tanzania is a veteran of 43 fights with 32 wins including 17 knockouts and has tested himself against top super-middleweight talent including WBA world champion Fedor Chudinov from Russia and WBC international Champion Matthew Mecklin from UK.

Cheka has racked up 300 grueling rounds under his belt in the 16 years of his career compared to Vijender Singh’s 27 and has no fear fighting in India.
Cheka was formerly a WBF world champion and currently he holds the Intercontinental Super Middleweight Championship title, which he won earlier this year in February against Serbian Geard Ajetovic.

Vijender, on the other hand, is undefeated in his seven-fight career so far.

Cheka is Vijender’s most experienced opponent to date and will prove a stern test for the big-hitting Indian boxer. Vijender currently has a record of seven out of seven wins including 6 knockouts.

Vijender claimed his first title at the Thyagaraj Stadium in July this year against Australian Kerry Hope.

On fighting Cheka, Vijender said,”Cheka is a highly experienced boxer, he has many bouts under his belt, but none of this demotivates me. I am training harder to match up to his level and hoping for another win.

Once again my fight will be at home, just like last time the support that I got from the crowd was overwhelming and I am sure there will be more people who will come out to support me.

“I am confident of my win; I feel my stance is becoming better with every training session that I am undergoing.”

“My trainer also feels that my punches are stronger than before and he has also put me under high intensity training. I am sure of protecting my title with as much pride as I won it. I am going to leave no stone unturned to make sure my title stays with me,” he added.

Cheka was more aggressive with his words and promised to knock out Vijender.

I am ready to give this kid a lesson of boxing I will come to India. I have heard a lot about this Indian boxer and there’s a lot of hype around him, I just can’t wait to be the one to put him in his place.

“I know he trains in Manchester, UK, but it will be a great fun to beat Indian lad in his own country and take away his title. If you see my record, I have a total of 17 knockouts, I have played way more rounds than he has, I am sure I will be able to knock him out in the first round itself.

“I have seen his previous fights, he has fought absolutely nobody so far and I am sure he will get rid of facing me in the ring.

The day he will meet me in the ring, he won’t have a reply for anything I throw at him and once I start landing my punches at him it be will game over for India’s golden boy. There’s no doubt in my mind that I will knockout Vijender,” he added.

Vijender has been training in Manchester for his title defense fight next month.

Lee Beard, trainer of Vijender, said, “We have been working on Vijender’s strength and power in the gym and he is punching a lot harder. I can already see the benefits of the high intensity training sessions we have been putting him and everyone will see an even better Vijender on December 17th.

“Of all the fighters I have trained, he is one of the best when it comes to learning; he is an extremely quick learner. He will be prepared and ready to defend his title in style.”

Neerav Tomar, Promoter, IOS Boxing Promotions, which manages Vijender, is excited for this next stint of his organisation.

“Just like last time, this time around also I am confident of a houseful on the fight night. People came out in large numbers to support their favourite boxing sensation; the response from the media as well as the social media was overwhelming,” he said.

India Will Slip in ICC T20 Ranking If Lose 0-2 to West Indies in T20Is

India Will Slip in ICC T20 Ranking If Lose 0-2 to West Indies in T20Is

Dubai: India will lose their second position in the ICC T20I Team Rankings if they suffer a 0-2 defeat against two-time World champions West Indies in the two-match series in Florida, USA on August 27 and 28.

India are currently placed on 128 points, four points behind table leader New Zealand, while third-ranked West Indies is on 122 points.

Led by new captain Carlos Brathwaite, who had smashed four consecutive sixes in the ICC World Twenty20 final against England in Kolkata, the West Indies can move to second place on 127 points with a 2-0 win and push India to third place on 124 points.

However, a 2-0 win for India, captain by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, will help it join number-one ranked New Zealand on 132 points but the Asian side will be ranked second when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point.

In this scenario, the West Indies will slip to fourth position with 118 points, one point behind South Africa.

A 1-1 series draw will keep India ahead on 128 points with West Indies on 123 points.

The individual performances in the series will also be keenly watched with a player from either side leading the player rankings for batsmen and bowlers.

India’s Test captain Virat Kohli heads the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for T20I Batsmen with 837 points. With Australia’s Aaron Finch only 34 points behind, Kohli will be looking to consolidate his position at the top.

Rohit Sharma is the next-highest ranked India batsman in 23rd position, while Dhoni, who had led India to victory in the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 title in 2007, is in 50th position but the likelihood of getting more batting opportunities could see him rise in the ranks.

For the West Indies, big-hitting opener Chris Gayle (eighth) and experienced batsman Marlon Samuels (17th) will be looking to move up the ranks with Lendl Simmons (31st), Dwayne Bravo (37th) and Andre Fletcher (48th) also trying to climb the ladder.

The West Indies has two slow bowlers up in the table as top-ranked leg-spinner Samuel Badree and fourth-ranked off-spinner Sunil Narine will be out to garner points with medium-pacer Dwayne Bravo (39th) the next best on the list.

For India, fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah is in second position in the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for T20I Bowlers after a creditable show in Zimbabwe a few months ago when India won the T20I series 2-1. Ravichandran Ashwin is the other India bowler inside the top 10 in seventh position, while left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja is in 19th spot.

Marlon Samuels is the best-ranked all-rounder from either side at fifth position.

Vijender Singh Pleads for an End to Boxing Mess in India

Vijender Singh Pleads for an End to Boxing Mess in India

New Delhi: Worried about the administrative logjam in Indian boxing, recently-crowned WBO Asia Pacific champion Vijender Singh on Saturday pleaded with the officials to put together a new federation at the earliest for the sake of country’s pugilists.

Speaking at the ASSOCHAM conference in the presence of Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel, Vijender said the country’s boxers have been denied a voice at international events because of the current situation.

“Our country does not have a boxing federation since last three to four years. (An) ad-hoc committee is presently running boxing. Earlier we had Abhay Singh Chautala as the Boxing Federation President for 10 to 12 years (until 2012). Things went well but later the court case started and since then we don’t have any federation,” the 2008 Olympic bronze-medallist said.

“I want India to have a Boxing Federation again and anyone, including (national coach Gurbax Singh) Sandhu Sir, can become president of it; but a federation is required to fight for the rights of the boxers,” said Singh, who turned professional last year.

In 2012, the erstwhile Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) was terminated for manipulation in elections. The body that took shape later – Boxing India – could not run the show for even a year and had to be dissolved after a rebellion by the state units.

Ever since, an ad-hoc committee appointed by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) is administering the sport and elections are being planned tentatively in September to put together a new body – the Boxing Federation of India.

This logjam has affected Indian boxing as only three boxers have qualified for the Rio Olympics as compared to eight in London in 2012.

Singh also called on the country to pray for the athletes going to Rio for next month’s Olympics and said “Unko Dua mein yaad rakhna (remember them in your prayers).”

“They have done their work and reached a level that they are representing India. Now it’s our turn to support them. Whether they bring a medal or not, that does not matter all. We need is to pray for them and give our wishes to them,” the 30-year-old said.

“I have represented the country in three Olympics and I know what it feels when people cheer for us, and we don’t need anything else,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi Booed by Crowd During Vijender Singh’s Title Clash

Rahul Gandhi Booed by Crowd During Vijender Singh’s Title Clash

New Delhi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was booed by the crowd at the Thyagaraj stadium where he had come to watch Vijender Singh’s WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight Championship title bout here on Saturday.

Sporting a grey t-shirt and denims, Gandhi walked into the stadium only to see a part of the crowd boo him and then chant ‘Modi, Modi’, referring to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The 46-year-old, who sat beside IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla, had a similar experience when he walked out of the stadium after the end of the title clash which Vijender won after beating Australia’s Kerry Hopes here.

However, Gandhi didn’t react to the boos of the crowd and simply smiled back before leaving the stadium.

The event was attended by the who’s who of sports, entertainment and politics, including boxer M C Mary Kom, who choked a bit while acknowledging a loud applause from the crowd, star wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, cricketers Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, actor Randeep Hooda.

Emotional Vijender Singh Dedicates Title Win to Muhammad Ali

Emotional Vijender Singh Dedicates Title Win to Muhammad Ali

Star India pugilist Vijender Singh dedicated his win to legendary boxer Muhammad Ali after he defeated Australias Kerry Hope in 10 rounds to win the WBO Asia/Pacific Middleweight title at the Thyagraj Stadium in Delhi on Saturday.

Id like to dedicate this title to Muhammad Ali – he passed away recently, said the 30-year-old after he was declared unanimous winner with scores of 98-92, 98-92, 100-90.

Vijender thanked the crowd for coming out in big numbers to support him and said that the win is for the country. Thank you India! I didnt expect it to go to ten rounds. It is all to my country, not about me, said the boxer who was in tears after his win and extending his winning run in pro boxing to 7-0.

We have been working hard for this. Finally we did it and we will work to improve my ranking now, he said.

This was Vijenders first points-win after six knockouts in a row and it was also the longest that he spent inside the ring to clinch a win since turning pro.

Finally I could complete ten rounds. I tried to go for the knockout but it didnt work out, doesnt matter. A win is a win, Vijender added.

After Six Knockouts, Vijender Singh Ready For First Pro Title

After Six Knockouts, Vijender Singh Ready For First Pro Title

Vijender Singh made a smashing professional debut by knocking out Britain's Sonny Whiting in the middleweight category, ruthlessly demolishing the man, who promised to put him through hell at the Manchester Arena. Vijender won the contest with a few seconds left in the third of the four-round bout via Technical Knockout, pushing Whiting literally on to the ropes and smacking him with a combination of jabs and uppercuts before the referee stepped in to stop the contest. (Getty Images)
Vijender Singh made a smashing professional debut by knocking out Britain’s Sonny Whiting in the middleweight category, ruthlessly demolishing the man, who promised to put him through hell at the Manchester Arena. Vijender won the contest with a few seconds left in the third of the four-round bout via Technical Knockout, pushing Whiting literally on to the ropes and smacking him with a combination of jabs and uppercuts before the referee stepped in to stop the contest.
Vijender Singh continued his sensational foray into professional boxing with a second successive knockout triumph, demolishing England's Dean Gillen in the first round itself. The 30-year-old, who had clinched a Technical Knockout against another Englishman Sonny Whiting in his debut bout, was in rampaging form yet again as he finished off Gillen just over two minutes into the contest. Walking in to the beats of a live dhol, Vijender looked supremely confident as he measured up Gillen in the first 20-30 seconds. With a deadly right straight, the former Olympic bronze-medallist had the Brit down on the mat quite early in the bout. (Getty Images)
Vijender Singh continued his sensational foray into professional boxing with a second successive knockout triumph, demolishing England’s Dean Gillen in the first round itself. The 30-year-old, who had clinched a Technical Knockout against another Englishman Sonny Whiting in his debut bout, was in rampaging form yet again as he finished off Gillen just over two minutes into the contest. Walking in to the beats of a live dhol, Vijender looked supremely confident as he measured up Gillen in the first 20-30 seconds. With a deadly right straight, the former Olympic bronze-medallist had the Brit down on the mat quite early in the bout.
 Vijender Singh continued his remarkably dominant run in the professional circuit, notching up a third successive knockout triumph by thrashing Bulgaria's Samet Hyuseinov in less than two rounds. Barely 35 seconds into the second round of what was to be his maiden six-round contest, Vijender cornered Hyuseinov with a flurry of combination punches to force the referee into stopping the bout and give the Indian a win via Technical Knockout. The former Olympic and World Championships bronze-medallist thus continues to remain unbeaten since making his debut in October, all three of his wins being knockouts in under three rounds. (Getty Images)
Vijender Singh continued his remarkably dominant run in the professional circuit, notching up a third successive knockout triumph by thrashing Bulgaria’s Samet Hyuseinov in less than two rounds. Barely 35 seconds into the second round of what was to be his maiden six-round contest, Vijender cornered Hyuseinov with a flurry of combination punches to force the referee into stopping the bout and give the Indian a win via Technical Knockout. The former Olympic and World Championships bronze-medallist thus continues to remain unbeaten since making his debut in October, all three of his wins being knockouts in under three rounds.
Unlike his first three bouts, when his opponents looked in a hurry to wind up bouts as soon as possible, Indian ace boxer Vijender Singhs Hungarian opponent Alexander Horvath during the Manchester bout appeared a bit relaxed and in a mood to put up fight for some time. However, all his efforts of staying in the ring for comparatively longer time came to naught as the end result was same  Vijender knocked out the Hungarian to register his fourth victory in succession. Alexander, who was dining on viper's blood in build-up to the bout, looked less venomous against Vijender, who executed his calculated punches smartly and knocked out his opponent in the third round itself. (Getty Images)
Unlike his first three bouts, when his opponents looked in a hurry to wind up bouts as soon as possible, Indian ace boxer Vijender Singhs Hungarian opponent Alexander Horvath during the Manchester bout appeared a bit relaxed and in a mood to put up fight for some time. However, all his efforts of staying in the ring for comparatively longer time came to naught as the end result was same Vijender knocked out the Hungarian to register his fourth victory in succession. Alexander, who was dining on viper’s blood in build-up to the bout, looked less venomous against Vijender, who executed his calculated punches smartly and knocked out his opponent in the third round itself.
Indian boxing star Vijender Singh's power-packed punches went unchallenged yet again as he notched up his fifth successive knockout win by battering Frenchman Matiouze Royer. Vijender was declared winner little over a minute into the fifth round of the six-round super middleweight contest, which was incidentally his longest bout so far. The 30-year-old was up against his most experienced rival till date in Royer, who came into the bout with an accumulated 250 rounds under his belt. (Getty Images)
Indian boxing star Vijender Singh’s power-packed punches went unchallenged yet again as he notched up his fifth successive knockout win by battering Frenchman Matiouze Royer. Vijender was declared winner little over a minute into the fifth round of the six-round super middleweight contest, which was incidentally his longest bout so far. The 30-year-old was up against his most experienced rival till date in Royer, who came into the bout with an accumulated 250 rounds under his belt.
Indian boxing star Vijender Singh's rampaging winning streak remained intact as he carved out a sixth successive knockout victory by battering Poland's Andrzej Soldra. Fighting the first eight-round contest of his fledgling pro career, Vijender completed yet another dominating win barely a minute into the third round. (Getty Images)
Indian boxing star Vijender Singh’s rampaging winning streak remained intact as he carved out a sixth successive knockout victory by battering Poland’s Andrzej Soldra. Fighting the first eight-round contest of his fledgling pro career, Vijender completed yet another dominating win barely a minute into the third round.

Manny Pacquiao to fight again Though it should not interfere with his senatorial responsibilities

Filipino boxing star Manny Pacquiao plans to come out of retirement to fight an as yet to be named opponent later this year, his promoter said Tuesday, though the boxer said no fight has yet been set. Bob Arum told American sports broadcaster ESPN that the former welterweight champion plans to fight on either October 29 or November 5 as a main event bout in Las Vegas as long as it doesnt clash with his senate duties in the Philippines.

Manny wants to come back, Arum said. The problem is he can only come back if it doesnt interfere with his senate duties. The boxer had previously planned an October 15 fight in Mandalay Bay Events Center, but scrapped it due to upcoming votes in the senate in his native Philippines, where he now serves. The question is building availability because we want to do the fight in Las Vegas, Arum said about the new dates.

Arum said the most difficult part of setting up a fight is working around the busy schedule of the boxer, who has a career record of 58-6-2 with 38 knockouts. He now has given us the go-ahead to shop for a venue and an opponent and see if we can do it on a particular date or dates, Arum said. Weve been trying to work out a date that doesnt interfere with his senatorial responsibilities and his ability to train. But in a statement, Pacquiao denied any firm plans on a fight. There is no truth to media reports that Im planning to take a leave from my Senate duties just to fight again atop the ring. I want to make it clearmy priority is my legislative works, he said. My next fight has not yet been discussed. Should there be any, Ill make sure it will not interfere with my senate duties. The boxer said all his training would take place in the Philippines so that he can keep participating in senate proceedings. Boxing is my only means of livelihood to support my family and to help those who are in need, he said.

Politics, to me, is a vocation not a means to eke out a living. I want to maintain that belief. I want to keep my dignity intact while in public service. Pacquiaos advisor Michael Koncz told ESPN that Pacquiao misses the competition. Mannys primary concern and obligation is to fulfill his senatorial duties, Koncz said. But he misses (boxing). He misses the training. He misses being in the gym. You can see when he trains its like a stress reliever for him. So I am working with Bob and Manny is working closely with the senate president to make sure the dates are OK. We are doing this properly. AFP

Brock Lesnar drug tested five times in two weeks by USADA in wake of controversial UFC doping exemption

Brock Lesnar drug tested five times in two weeks by USADA in wake of controversial UFC doping exemption

BROCK Lesnar may have been granted a drug testing exemption ahead of his UFC comeback but he has been tested five times in a fortnight since announcing his return.

Lesnar, the co-main event for UFC 200, has faced a blitz from USADA since the news became public two weeks ago, the anti-doping bodys athlete database reveals.

The five tests come in the wake of controversy, after the UFC waived its usual policy that athletes coming out of retirement give USADA four months notice before fighting. Lesnar, 38, has not fought in the UFC since a loss to Alistair Overeem in 2011.

UFC vice president of health and performance Jeff Novitzky told MMA Fighting that Lesnar was likely to face an ongoing testing blitz leading into the 200 promotion on July 9 (US time).

Contrary to popular belief, Lesnar is also drug tested multiple times per year in the WWE.

Lesnar will face New Zealand-born, Australia-based heavyweight slugger Mark Hunt in his return bout. Hunt, 42, was upset by Lesnars exemption.

Brock Lesnar before his last UFC fight in 2011.
Brock Lesnar before his last UFC fight in 2011.Source:

I dont think thats fair. I think its load of bulls**t, I think its rubbish, Hunt told Fox Sports Australia in an exclusive interview.

I dont think anyone should be exempt from testing. If theyre trying to clean the sport up – mixed martial arts this is a bad way to do it. I dont care who you are. Its ridiculous.

I dont think its a great move. I think hes juiced to the gills – and I still think Im going to knock him out.

Meanwhile, one element of Lesnars return to the UFC has become noticeable: That despite being a former heavyweight champion in the Octagon, he is being promoted as a WWE superstar ahead of 200.

Here is the latest promotional video featuring Lesnar, who took the UFC HW strap in sensational fashion by knocking out Hall of Famer Randy Couture:

Lesnar is currently under contract as a performer in the WWE, where he recently signed a multi-year deal to remain with the professional wrestling outfit instead of returning to the UFC.

The WWE then gave Lesnar permission to pursue a return to the UFC for his fight with Hunt in July, but its clear that the organisation is still going to get some promotion out of this historic card even if the former heavyweight champion will be fighting instead of wrestling that night.

Rumours also indicated that as part of the deal between the UFC and WWE, Lesnars WWE theme music would be played when he walked to the Octagon.

Brock Lesnar holds down Frank Mir during their heavyweight title bout at UFC 100.
Brock Lesnar holds down Frank Mir during their heavyweight title bout at UFC 100.Source:

Sources told FOX Sports those rumours were unfounded and discussions about Lesnars walk out havent happened yet, although anything is possible.

When Lesnar originally joined the UFC, he made the distinction not to blur the line between his performances in WWE and what he was doing in mixed martial arts.

While that distinction remains the same ahead of his next fight, it appears part of Lesnars deal to return to the UFC may have also earned the WWE some extra promotion at the event July 9.

Following UFC 200, Lesnar is then expected to return to the WWE, where he will take part in SummerSlam on August 20.

UFC: Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping says he ‘would snap Conor McGregor’s neck’

UFC: Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping says he ‘would snap Conor McGregor’s neck’

UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping has claimed that he would snap Conor McGregor’s neck if they ever faced off. Bisping who claimed the middleweight title with a sensational first round knock-out victory over Luke Rockfold at UFC 199 is a fan of the Irishman and is confident he would defeat him.

“Listen, a long time ago I had a bird that annoyed me and the bird had to go. The bird’s neck was snapped. I would also snap Conor McGregor’s neck in a similar fashion”, he said, as quoted by Mmamania.

“Conor is about as high as this couch, and I am a grand specimen- I’m 6’2 of prime British beef. Conor is Irish and about 4’2. It wouldn’t even be fair. I doubt you could even get it sanctioned. But Conor for his weight-class is amazing, he is the best, I love him but come on,” he added.

The current UFC Featherweight Champion is no stranger to moving up weight divisions to challenge himself. He most famously jumped up a few weight classes to test himself against bigger opponents like Nate Diaz at UFC 196.

But that did not turn out well, as Diaz beat the Irishman via submission in the second round, which led to McGregor being defeated for the first time in his UFC career. He now seems desperate to get revenge as the duo are set to face-off once again at UFC 202.

The 27-year-old has also hinted that he could make the move up to the middleweight division later in his career and claimed, “Who knows, I could be like a block at 170. As I keep growing and keep eating and keep training, my body could change as I get older. I could become that solid block at 170. At that block of 170 I’d be happy to go to 185. It would be like going from 145 to 155.”

Indian Boxers Make Confident Start at World Olympic Qualifiers

Indian Boxers Make Confident Start at World Olympic Qualifiers

Baku (Azerbaijan): Dheeraj Rangi (60kg) gave India’s boxing team a perfect start in the AIBA World Olympic Qualification Tournament as he defeated Guatemala’s Kevin Alfonso Luna Munoz in the opening round of the event which started on Thursday.

Dheeraj triumphed 3-0 over the his opponent and set up a tough second-round clash against top-seeded Mexican Lindolfo Delgao Garza, who got a bye in the opening round.

In the draw unveiled on Thursday, Asian Games gold-medallist Vikas Krishan (75kg) and Commonwealth Games silver-winner L Devendro Singh (49kg) were the only Indians to be seeded.

While Devendro was given the fourth seeding, Vikas was seeded second and both of them got first-round byes in their respective categories. They will open their campaigns on June 20 against yet-to-be decided rivals.

Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Mandeep Jangra will take on Spaniard Youba Sissokho Ndiaye in his opening bout in the wee hours tonight.

In the 52kg category, Gaurav Bidhuri will fight it out against American Antonio Vargas in his opening contest tomorrow. Also in action tomorrow will be former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg), who will take on Puerto Rico’s Danielito Zorrila de la Rosa.

In the light heavyweight (81kg) division, Sumit Sangwan will be up against Trinidad’s Andrew Fermin.

In the 91kg division, Amritpreet Singh will face Armend Xhoxhaj of Kos (Greek Islands), while Satish Kumar (+91kg) will square off against Tonga’s Manase Kaho Raikadroka.

The tournament has 39 qualifying spots up for grabs — two in the 49kg category, five each in 52kg, 56kg, 60kg, 64kg, 69kg, 75kg and 81kg, and just one each in 91kg and +91kg. Over 400 boxers from more than 100 countries are vying for these slots in the final qualifying tournament for amateur boxers.

India have not sent any entry in the 56kg category as Shiva Thapa qualified for the Rio Games during the Asian qualifiers in March.

Sushil to Approach WFI Before Deciding to Move Supreme Court

Sushil to Approach WFI Before Deciding to Move Supreme Court

New Delhi: With his plea for selection trial dismissed by the Delhi High Court, double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar will again approach the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) in his final quest for competing at the Rio Olympics before deciding on whether to challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court.

The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed Sushil’s plea for a trial, observing it may ‘jeopardise’ the chances of selected candidate Narsingh Yadav and the country would be the ‘loser’.

Justice Manmohan acknowledged Sushil’s feats in the international arena and termed him a ‘legendary wrestler’ in 66kg weight category but did not allow him to have a chance to compete for the Olympic berth in the 74kg category.

“We will try our best. We would be speaking to the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) once again and urge it to hold a selection trial. But if that doesn’t work, we may approach the Supreme Court, as Sushil is the best bet in 74kg category and he must get a chance to show that he is not only capable of going to the Olympics but also winning nothing less than a gold medal there,” a well-placed source close to Sushil told PTI.

Sushil’s mentor and father-in-law Mahabali Satpal, meanwhile, said that he was upset with the verdict as he felt that the former world champion was in the form of his life and he should not be denied a chance to at least get a trial.

“Right now Sushil is the fittest ever. He is in the form of his life. His current weight is 78kg and during the training sessions, he is regularly beating wrestlers not just in 74kg category but also in much higher divisions. He has recently beaten a national level wrestler in 120kg category,” Satpal said.

Narsingh had secured the Olympic quota place for India last year at the World Championship in Las Vegas after winning a bronze medal.

Since then the Maharashtra grappler has been staking claims for the berth and the WFI had been steadfast in its stand to send Narsingh to Rio since he had grabbed the quota.

Going by norms in WFI guidelines, a quota belongs to the country and not to an individual wrestler, and former world champion Sushil pointed out that there should be a trial in 74kg category to decide who would go to Rio.

The 33-year-old, who had won a bronze medal in 2008 Beijing Olympics and followed it up with a silver in 2012 London Games, had moved the court seeking directions to WFI to hold selection trials.

Sushil had won both his Olympic medals in 66kg category but had to move up to 74kg after the International Wrestling body (FILA) rejigged the weight divisions post the London Games.

Sushil’s climbing up to the 74kg weight category brought him in direct competition with Narsingh, who had represented India in this category in earlier Olympics.

After jumping up the division, Sushil had fought in just a couple of international tournaments. In fact, what has gone against Sushil is that he had last fought in 2014 Commonwealth Games at Glasgow, where he had won a gold medal. Since then he has not participated in any major event owing to injuries.

Before the World Championship last year, WFI had conducted trials but Sushil opted out of that as well as he sustained a shoulder injury at that time.

He also did not take part in the inaugural Pro Wrestling League, once again citing injury, in December last year.

However, Sushil kept training in the last one year on government’s fund and also went to Georgia for a training stint in April, although he chose to train alone and not with the rest of his Indian colleagues.

Earlier in the day, the HC observed: “In international arena of sports, medals are won not only by ‘brawn’ but also by ‘brain’. The last minute challenge to selection can disturb the mental preparation of the selected.

“Consequently, a sportsperson innocently asking for ‘just a trial’ may be jeopardising the chances of the selected candidate to win, having disastrous consequences for national interest. In the duel asked for, the country will be the loser.”

Vijender Singh’s Debut Pro Bout in India on July 16 For WBO Asia Title

Vijender Singh has been unbeaten since turning pro last year, winning all his six contests so far via knockouts.

New Delhi: Former European champion Kerry Hope was on Monday announced as Indian boxing star Vijender Singh’s opponent for the eagerly-anticipated WBO Asia title bout to be held on July 16 in the national capital.

The 30-year-old Indian has been unbeaten since turning pro last year, winning all his six contests so far via knockouts. Hope, on the other hand, brings with him experience of 30 bouts, of which he has won 23, two of them knockouts. The Welsh-born Hope, who emigrated to Australia, was also a WBC middleweight champion and has moved a division to super middleweight to take on Vijender.

“He is a superstar in India but to me he is just a boxer. He has been pro for a year, I have been pro for 12 years. I bring a lot of experience. I know the crowd will be behind him but I like being the underdog. The pressure is on him. He has to train harder,” the 34-year-old Hope said at a press conference here. “I have been world No.3 in the past. I have heard about his achievements but all that is in amateur. I am an experienced operator in the pro circuit,” he added.

Vijender was his usual understated self when it came to talking before the bout.

“Time will decide what happens on July 16. Just wait and watch,” was his reply to Hope’s statement before the two faced off for a brief while.

Vijender’s two promoters — India-based IOS and UK-based Queensberry Promotions — revealed that the tickets for the bout would go on sale from tomorrow. The first ticket for the bout was presented to former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag, a longtime friend of Vijender.

“Even in cricket, it’s a lot of fun to beat Australians. So, I hope Vijender beats Kerry,” quipped Sehwag while posing with the ticket.

Queensberry Promotions’ Francis Warren said he expects the 10-round contest to be a tough one for Vijender. “There will be two four-rounders, two six-rounders, and an eight-rounder before Vijender’s title bout on that day. I think it is a tough fight for Vijender but at stake, apart from the title, is a place inside the top-15 of WBO rankings. That would pave the way for a world title bout for Vijender soon,” Warren said.

“We are expecting a full house. The tickets have been priced from Rs 1000 to Rs 15,000. This is actually a dream realised and perhaps the biggest moment in Indian boxing,” said IOS MD Neerav Tomar.

The bout will be held at the Thyagaraj Stadium, which has a capacity of nearly 6,000, and Vijender has already invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and several other dignitaries for what promises to be a mega-event.

Vijender Singh to Face Ex-Euro Champ Kerry Hope in WBO Title Bout

Vijender Singh to Face Ex-Euro Champ Kerry Hope in WBO Title Bout

New Delhi: Former European champion Kerry Hope was unveiled, on Monday, as Indian boxing star Vijender Singh’s opponent for the eagerly-anticipated WBO Asia title bout to be held on July 16 in the national capital.

The 30-year-old Indian has been unbeaten since turning pro last year, winning all his six contests so far via knockouts.

Hope, on the other hand, brings with him experience of 30 bouts, of which he has won 23, two of them knockouts.

The Welsh-born Hope, who emigrated to Australia, was also a WBC middleweight champion and has moved a division to super middleweight to take on Vijender.

“He is a superstar in India but to me he is just a boxer.

He has been pro for a year, I have been pro for 12 years. I bring a lot of experience. I know the crowd will be behind him but I like being the underdog. The pressure is on him. He has to train harder,” the 34-year-old Hope said at a press conference here.

“I have been world No.3 in the past. I have heard about his achievements but all that is in amateur. I am an experienced operator in the pro circuit,” he added.

Vijender was his usual understated self when it came to talking before the bout.

“Time will decide what happens on July 16. Just wait and watch,” was his reply to Hope’s statement before the two faced off for a brief while.

Vijender’s two promoters — India-based IOS and UK-based Queensberry Promotions — revealed that the tickets for the bout would go on sale from tomorrow. The first ticket for the bout was presented to former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag, a longtime friend of Vijender.

“Even in cricket, it’s a lot of fun to beat Australians.

So, I hope Vijender beats Kerry,” quipped Sehwag while posing with the ticket.

Queensberry Promotions’ Francis Warren said he expects the 10-round contest to be a tough one for Vijender.

“There will be two four-rounders, two six-rounders, and an eight-rounder before Vijender’s title bout on that day. I think it is a tough fight for Vijender but at stake, apart from the title, is a place inside the top-15 of WBO rankings.

That would pave the way for a world title bout for Vijender soon,” Warren said.

“We are expecting a full house. The tickets have been priced from Rs 1000 to Rs 15,000. This is actually a dream realised and perhaps the biggest moment in Indian boxing,” said IOS MD Neerav Tomar.

The bout will be held at the Thyagaraj Stadium, which has a capacity of nearly 6,000, and Vijender has already invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and several other dignitaries for what promises to be a mega-event.

Boxer Sonia Lather Lone Indian to Make Semis of World Championships

Boxer Sonia Lather Lone Indian to Make Semis of World Championships

Astana: Former Asian silver-medallist Sonia Lather (57kg) was the lone Indian boxer to make the semifinals and assure herself of a medal at the AIBA Women’s World Championships even as four others lost their quarterfinal bouts here on Tuesday.

Sonia got the better of Poland’s Aneta Rygielska 3-0 to save India of a complete washout at an event where not one from the country could qualify for Rio in the three Olympic categories of 51kg, 60kg and 75kg.

The ones to bow out of contention in the non-Olympic categories were previous edition’s silver-medallist Sarjubala Devi (48kg), former junior champion Nikhat Zareen (54kg), Saweety (81kg) and Seema Poonia (+81kg).

Sonia got the mix of caution and aggression just right and quite literally wore down her rival. Displaying some fine footwork, Sonia managed to strike a few telling jabs in the opening two rounds to unsettle Aneta.

In the final two rounds, the Polish boxer struggled to continue the bout and was brought to her knees by Sonia in the final few seconds of the bout.

Sonia will now face Italian Alessia Mesiano, who scored a 2:0 triumph over Russian Viktoriia Kuleshova in her quarterfinal bout.

Earlier, in a disappointing start to the proceedings, second seed Sarjubala lost to local favourite Nazym Kyzaibay.

The diminutive Manipuri, who is also a former junior world champion, struggled against her taller opponent, who also had a better reach.

The strategy to attack relentlessly, which is usually Sarjubala’s biggest strength, did not work today as Kyzaibay caught her on the counter-offence.

The Kazakh displayed sharper reflexes and scored on counter-jabs to outwit Sarjubala.

Zareen also could not adjust to the counter-attacking gameplan of her Chinese rival Piaopiao Liu as she went down 0-3 in her quarterfinal contest.

Zareen, who is also a junior world champion, connected accurately every time she launched an attack but could not defend as well against Liu, who controlled the bout with her flawless ring craft.

Previous edition’s silver-medallist Saweety was also no match for Turkey’s Elif Guneri and was beaten 0-3, while Seema too fell tamely to local hope Lazzat Kungeibayeva to an identical 0-3 scoreline.

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