Star Indian boxer offers to trade title for peace with China
New Delhi, India - Indian boxer Vijender Singh has offered to return the championship belt he won in this weekend’s title fight over his Chinese rival in a nod to diplomacy amid a tense border standoff between New Delhi and Beijing.
The Olympic-bronze medallist extended the olive branch to Zulpikar Maimaitiali after defeating the Chinese champ in the much-anticipated double-title pro bout in Mumbai on Saturday.
The win saw the 31 year old Indian pugilist retain not just his WBO Asia Pacific super middleweight title but snatch the super middleweight belt from his Chinese opponent.
But the newly-crowned champ buried the hatchet after the fight, dedicating his victory to the ‘India-China friendship’ and calling for an end to the distrust that has flared up over a border disagreement.
‘I want to give back this belt to Zulpikar. I hope for peace in the border and the message is about peace. That is most important’, Singh was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.
Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a standoff at a remote but strategically important Himalayan plateau near where Tibet, India and Bhutan meet. The plateau gives China access to the so-called ‘chicken neck’ - a thin strip of land that connects India’s northeast with the rest of the country.
The row has festered for more than a month as India and China refuse to back down in the distant but key territory.
Mistrust between the giant neighbours goes back centuries with the pair having fought a brief war in 1962 in India’s border state of Arunachal Pradesh.
WBO Asia-Pacific super middleweight champion Vijender Singh celebrates after winning the double title bout against China’s Zulpikar Maimaitiali, in Mumbai on Saturday