It's has been over four years that India's boxing sensation Vijender Singh turned professional. Vijender holds a perfect 11-0 record including eight knockouts. But the last two years haven't been the most happening for the pugilist from Haryana who dominated headlines after clinching bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
That medal on the grandest stage was followed by bronze at World Championships, silver at Commonwealth Games and gold at Asian Games. Arguably the most popular male boxer in India, Vijender also tried out his hands in Bollywood.
Since turning professional in 2015, Vijender fought in England, Ireland before bringing the show to India in 2016. He captured the WBO Asia Pacific and Oriental Super middleweight titles during the same time. But since 2018, he has fought only one bout. In fact he did not fight even once in 2018 as he split up with his UK-based promoter.
Vijender was later signed by legendary Bob Arum's Top Rank Promotions and made his US debut this year in July against Mike Snider. But five years is a long time for the 34-years-old Vijender in pro circuit and now he wants the big thing - world title.
But before that, he has one more bout to fight, against Charles Adamu.
The Indian would take on the two-time Commonwealth champion on 22 November in a 10-round fight at the luxurious Caesars Palace Bluewaters in Dubai in an event called the Rotunda Rumble 2.
"There's a reason 2018 was dormant. I parted ways with my old promoter and then signed up with a new one. But all said and done, my next fight will be a much bigger one. Adamu's bout will decided what it will be and where. If I have a good record, I will get the world title fight," Vijender told Firstpost.
In Adamu, also known as The Crusader, Vijender has an experienced boxer to fight. The Ghanaian has 33 wins in 47 professional fights.
"There's no doubt that he's experienced but I have also fought many bouts,"said Vijender. "He was also an amateur once but I have the Olympics medal. Dubai at the same time also has a huge Indian settlement and I am sure they will create a boisterous environment on the day of the fight. I will have the advantage."
"I am not going to go all-out from the beginning. The plan is to wear him out and then go for the big punches."
And he has worked hard on his punches. Vijender may not have had a lot of pro bouts to fight but that doesn't mean he has been kind to his body. Multiple sparring sessions and fitness regimes are what he hope has kept him at his best.
"I was in Manchester for around two weeks and trained there with Lee Beard. The best thing is that I had 6-7 good sparring sessions with tough boxers. But now we are in Dubai. The time for training is over, now it's time to show the world my punches."
So, how confident is he about his chances?
"I have seen his videos and interviews. I don't need to say anything before the bout. I would reply to him in the ring only."
Adamu may be an experienced boxer but the 42-year-old is clearly past his prime. He has won only one of his last five bouts. Age has also slowed him down. The tricks of arranging a boxing bout has been an open secret but Vijender has no time for it. He has his sights set on another win and bigger things that could follow.
"Everyone wants to win regardless of the competition and I am no different. That's best for me," Vijender signed off.