Vijender will be tough, but I’m ready: Lopsan


Toughened by harsh weather in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, Russia’s Artysh Lopsan is all set to combat strong Indian rival Vijender Singh as well as the warm and humid Indian conditions next week during a professional bout in Goa.

The 26-year-old Lopsan arrived in New Delhi via Moscow on Friday after a long journey of more than 12 hours. He showed no signs of jet-leg. The March 19 bout against Singh will be his seventh on the pro circuit.

“I’ve been preparing since January to compete on the Indian soil. Since I stay in an area where the local weather conditions are very harsh at this moment, I could train outdoors only twice a week. I also did four days of indoor training including sparring,” he told IANS through an interpreter.

The Russian boxer has a slight advantage over his Indian opponent because he has participated in three professional events, winning two and losing one during the Covid pandemic. Singh however, was unable to compete in any competition due to the pandemic.

The last bout Lopsan participated in was four months back in Russia.

“I won the fight in December. It was good. Thereafter, I got an invitation to fight in India. I accepted it,” he said.

Since Lopsan hasn’t faced a strong opponent like Singh whose profile includes bronze in 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, part of his training has been to analyse his rival’s previous pro bouts.

“I haven’t faced an opponent of Singh’s calibre yet. I know he is highly rated in India but I’m prepared,” he said of the bout in Goa.

According to Lopsan’s coach Andrei Grishenko, a good performance on Indian soil will raise the profile of his ward.

“The event was twice postponed due to technical reasons. But we continued to train hard. It’s good that the competition is happening now,” said Grishenko.

When asked about any specific training Lopsan had done to face the Indian boxer, Grishenko says that Singh is being ranked too high.

“We are here to give our best,” the coach said before heading for a coffee break.