Vijender Singh, who has got off to a blistering start in his professional boxing career with three victories on a trot, has big dreams for the future: He wants to fight like his idol, Manny Pacquiao, and also wants to bring a boxing league to India.
The boxer was strongly criticised for his decision to turn pro, as it meant the Haryana pugilist would not be allowed to participate in the Olympics. However, his performances in the pro circuit have been mighty impressive and are gradually placing India on the sport's map.
Vijender, who has taken a huge leap from amateur to pro boxing, emerged triumphant against Sonny Whiting, Dean Gillen and Samet Hyuseinov, and is preparing for his fourth bout in Liverpool on 13 February; his opponent is not known yet. Despite the tough demands of pro boxing, which is quite different from the amateur level, Vijender has been excellent.
"I think the professional level is quite tough as you have to fight without headgear and the frequency of punches is very high. I faced a lot of problems in the beginning, but after tough physical workouts, I am now used to it," Vijender told India.com in an exclusive interview.
It is his impressive performances inside the ring that has caught the eye of sports lovers who watched his bouts live on TV.
"Recently, during my trip to India, many people who I met at the airport and shopping malls, and my friends told me they watched my fights live and rooted for me. So it feels good. Indians in the UK are also coming to watch my fights live there. So, it means people are happy with my decision," said Vijender.
The sport of boxing may not be popular as cricket in India, but Vijender wants to help it grow in the country: He wants to start a boxing league here to popularise the sport. It could act as a boon if Vijender comes up with a league on the lines of IPL.
"My Indian promoter Neerav Tomar and I are planning to bring a league which will be a big boost for Indian boxing," Vijender said.
Vijender, who is just three fights old in the pro circuit, wants to achieve greater things, and also dreams of fighting in the US, where top boxers of the world battle it out in front of huge audiences. It was in Las Vegas, where his idol, Manny Pacquiao fought his last bout against Floyd Maywether in what was known as the "fight of the century".
Vijender hopes to become a fighter like the "Pac-Man", one of the greatest boxers of the modern era. "Manny Pacquiao is my idol and I want to win fights like him some day," said Vijender.