It's been worth the wait and the final showdown is now. Indian superstar Vijender Singh has enthralled the pro boxing scene since he made his debut last October and in less than a year, the pugilist from Bhiwani is set for his first title shot. Vijender will take on Australia's Kerry Hope for the WBO Asia Pacific super middleweight title on Saturday at the Thyagaraj Stadium in New Delhi, India.
The 30-year-old has been really active on social media prior to the fight night inviting all the big names from India -- from the politicians to actors and sportspersons and musicians -- to be a part of the event. The anticipation among the combat sports fans is also at an all-time high.
The staredown between the two boxers ahead of the fight was nothing but intense and that sets the tone how exactly the bout is going to transpire.
It will be the battle of emotions and experience. Hope, 25, has oodles of experience. He has 30 pro boxing fights under his belt over a 12-year long career. This is in stark contrast with Vijender's six fights as a pro in less than a year. However, with home advantage and plenty of emotions in store, expect the 2008 Olympics Bronze medallist to give his best shot ever.
"It's been a long time since I fought in front of the home crowd. Delhi's weather is hot and there will be a lot of boxing tomorrow [Saturday]. I am excited," Vijender was quoted as saying by the Times of India after the weigh-in on Friday. "A lot will depend on the fight. A win will ensure direct entry in top 15 [of the WBO world rankings] and that's when the show begins," he added.
Sportspersons including Mary Kom, Virender Sehwag, Sushil Kumar and Yuvraj Singh are expected to be a part of the event and now it needs to be seen whether everyone becomes a part of history on the night.
Catch the staredown between the fighters during the weigh-in:
Where to watch live
The fight is expected to start at 7 p.m. IST (2.30 p.m. BST, 11.30 p.m. AEDT) on July 16.
BoxNation (Sky 437/HD 490, Virgin 546 and Talk Talk 415) will make the pro boxing bouts available in the UK and Ireland. Online streaming is made available on Watch BoxNation. Also, the fights can be watched on the official android and iOS app of BoxNation.
Total rounds: 10.