Indian boxing star Vijender Singh was crowned the WBO Asia-Pacific Super Middleweight champion Saturday after edging out Australia's Kerry Hope by a unanimous decision in the country's maiden professional fight in New Delhi.
Singh, who became the first Indian to win a boxing medal by taking home bronze from the 2008 Olympics, kept his undefeated record alive in his seventh bout since turning pro last year.
Hailing from the next-door state of Haryana, the 30-year-old did not disappoint in front of a packed house at Delhi's Thyagaraj stadium which erupted with joy after the tenth and final round.
Singh, who has won all his previous fights via knockout or TKO, scored 98-92, 98-92, 100-90 against the former WBC European champion.
The 34-year-old Hope, who had a 23-7 record heading into the bout, leaned on his 12 years of professional experience to stay in the fight against the newcomer. But Singh appeared unstoppable.
Singh's British trainer Lee Beard lifted the champion up after the final bell to celebrate the victory before the three judges delivered their final decision.
Vijender Singh said:
"This comes after a lot of hard work put in by me, my trainer, my team. I thank my coach, my promoter and my team who have done a fantastic job. I also thank all the fans, the celebrities and sportspersons who have come to watch my bout today. I loved the atmosphere... I could hear people chanting my name and 'Singh is king.' This is a happy homecoming for me."
The internet was full of praise for India's star boxer:
Congratulations @boxervijender for a hard fought and well deserved win. It was yet another display of immense skill, strength & stamina.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 16, 2016
Congratulations brother @boxervijender for ur victory.. sorry couldnt come due to prior commitments but always proud of u 👍 🎂 stay blessed— KAPIL (@KapilSharmaK9) July 17, 2016
Saw a full mch of boxing after yrs.thks @boxervijender for mkg INDIA proud,it's just the start ur hrd wrk,dedication and sacrifice paid off— Mahendra Singh Dhoni (@msdhoni) July 16, 2016
Congratulations @boxervijender 👏You deserve every bit of the WBO title👍Great sporting news for India.
Made the nation proud👊 #VijenderSingh— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) July 17, 2016
Great bout @boxervijender ! Kudos to your unrelenting & fighting spirit, which brought us the title. Well done.Keep the tricolor flying high— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) July 17, 2016
Yuvraj Singh Came for the Match..
Mahendra Singh wishes him in Twitter..Vijender Singh rocked the ring..Singh is King 👑— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) July 16, 2016
Singh is King, indeed!
With AFP inputs (Featured image: Facebook)