Vijender Singh took a dig at British boxer Amir Khan on Thursday by suggesting that he has been fighting “junior boxers”.
Amir, while announcing his bout with Neeraj Goyat in a Super Boxing League (SBL) exhibition match in Jeddah, Saudia Arabia, had insinuated that Vijender was running away and scared to fight.
Vijender, who recently beat American Mike Snider, to extend his professional career to 11-0, said he was ready to fight Amir provided he stopped fighting kids.
The two celebrated boxers have been shadow boxing through their comments in the media for almost three years, when Singh announced his plans to turn professional.
The sub-continent connections — Khan hails from Rawalpindi but won a silver medal in 2004 Athens Olympics for Great Britain while Singh won the bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Games — adds another layer to this rivalry.
On Thursday, the Bhiwani-born boxer replied to Khan in kind.
“I am ready to fight him but I think he is busy fighting kids. He picked a junior boxer, Neeraj Goyat, to fight. After he (Neeraj) got injured, he fought some Australian boxer in Saudi Arabia,” Singh roared amidst laughter from the audience.
“I have said this before and I am saying this again today that I am ready to fight him but he has to tell me whether he is ready to fight as well. But in the meantime he has to stop fighting kids only then he will get an opportunity to fight,” he added.
Last Sunday, Vijender stopped Snider in the fourth round by scoring a technical knockout on his debut in the US professional circuit.
Amir too stopped his opponent Billy Dib in the fourth round to win the WBC international welterweight title.
Billy was a last minute replacement for Goyat who pulled out after he was involved in a car accident.
Billy jumped from super featherweight (57kg) to super lightweight (63kg) – two weight classes to fight Amir.
Even as both the superstars spar openly and jostle for the elusive big ticket fight, experts suggest that the much-awaited encounter may not materialise due to the ‘weight differential’ between the two rivals.
Parm Goraya, who is SBL’s CEO (North America), said he wasn’t sure whether the bout will happen anytime in the future.
“Amir generally is around 63kg or 140 pounds while Vijender is around 75kg or over 165 pounds. This fight can only happen if Amir gains a lot or Vijender comes down drastically. Then there is also the small matter of money involved,” Goraya told The Tribune.
“The weight differential is huge. So I am not at all convinced whether this fight will materialise,” he added.