Vijender Singh insists his WBO Asia-Pacific super-middleweight title win in New Delhi is only the “beginning” – and is eyeing an unlikely clash with Amir Khan next.
The Indian star, who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games, beat Australian Kerry Hope on points after 10 rounds of one-sided action at the Thyagaraj stadium on Saturday night (July 16).
Fighting in front of a 5,000 home crowd for the first time as a professional, Singh scored a 98-92, 98-92, 100-90 unanimous decision to improve his record to 7-0.
The 30-year-old had won all of his previous fights by knockout or TKO, but despite not stopping the Welsh-born former WBC European champion was never in any trouble, using his height and reach advantage to great effect.
“It’s not about myself, it’s about my nation, my country,” Singh said after. “This comes after a lot of hard work put in by me, my trainer and my team. They have done a fantastic job.
“I also thank all the fans, the celebrities and sportspersons who came to watch my bout. The countdown has just begun.”
Pakistani-origin two-weight ex-world welterweight king Khan has hinted at taking on Singh in the subcontinent, and although it may have seemed a throwaway comment to most, the new title-holder wasn’t ruling it just yet.
“I want to take some rest, maybe for a month or so and we will see (what happens) after that. My world ranking will be in the top 15 and there will be harder fights now. But I am ready for it.”
He added: “Mine and Amir’s weight categories are different. So in case he increases his weight or I decrease mine, we can work it out.
“We are thinking about it, so let’s see. I hope that when that big fight happens, it happens in India only.”
Singh’s British promoter Francis Warren added: “In the long term, we will keep an eye on Amir Khan. That fight in India will be phenomenal, it will be massive. We have tentatively talked with Amir’s team, I know they want it, I know Vijender wants it.”
Next up though could be a meeting with Commonwealth champion Luke Blackledge. “There are a lot of options for Vijender,” Warren explained.
“It is a question of whether he will keep on climbing the rankings by fighting guys in the top 15 or keep hold of that belt. He has to defend within 120 days or we go after Luke.”
On Monday (July 18), Khan tweeted Singh, congratulating him on his success. He signed out by saying: “Careful what you wish for kid!”