Ace Indian boxer Vijender Singh has said that he feels he can emulate Philippine welterweight boxer Manny Pacquiao one day, as he looks forward to a decorated career as a pro.
The 29-year-old Bhiwani pugilist takes on British boxer Sonny Whiting in a four-round middleweight fight at the Manchester Arena on 10 October in his debut bout.
Vijender is determined to win against his British competitor, who has a 2-1 overall record in the middleweight boxing division. Vijender, who became a household name after winning the bronze in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is looking forward to achieving that status in India, which Pacquiao has achieved in the Philippines.
"Manny (Pacquiao) is a major Asian star and he said there is no reason why I cannot become just as big as him, but first and foremost I'm a boxer and it is what I do in the ring that counts, everything else is secondary," Vijender was quoted as saying by NDTV Sports.
"Professional boxing is just starting now in India and I believe that in the next few years you will start seeing some very good professional boxers coming through on the world scene," he added.
"I'm very excited for Saturday night, I've trained so hard for this and I can't wait to get in the ring," Vijender emphasised.
The Indian boxer shifted base to Manchester to train under renowned coach Lee Beard ahead of his pro boxing debut, and has mentioned that he has been preparing hard ahead of the fight.
"It is like I'm starting my boxing career all over again. Even though I accomplished so much as an amateur boxer, to begin my professional career I've had to start all over again with my training to prepare for my pro debut and it has been a very exciting time," Vijender was quoted by PTI.
"There has been a lot of changes and a lot of things we have been working on like the technical aspect of boxing, changing my diet and training schedule, the physical and mental preparation, it has all been important and I believe that I'm ready to fight," he said.