rth-most in the majors and his best since 2009, while he climbed to ninth on baseballs career list with 591 homers. P | Forum

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123 Oct 12
Olympics bronze-medallist Vijender Singh is set to take on Kerry Hope for WBO Asia Pacific super middleweight title in New Delhi on Saturday. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Oilers Jersey . ESPNs Sidharth Monga caught up with him ahead of the biggest bout of his pro-boxing career so far.Heres the full interview.Why did you choose boxing?Boxing chose me.My grandfather was a boxer. He was a subedar, retired a major. He brought a pair of boxing gloves with him when he retired. I would wear one, and I would pick up anybody and we would fight for the right glove because whoever had the right won. Gradually we realised Hawa Singh (Vijenders grandfathers colleague and an 11-time national heavyweight champion) had started an academy in Bhiwani, which is close to my village. I started under Jagdish Singh.When people in school would find out so and so guy boxes, you just get a different respect. Used to fight a lot in school so the boxers always won. We would also be popular with the girls. I studied in Happy Public School in Bhiwani. Being a boxer you just stood out in the crowd.Slowly it became a passion. We used to bunk school for training. We had to train three times a day: morning, afternoon, evening.When did you feel this could be a career?Not until I became a national (junior) champion in 2002. Then I was offered a constables job, not even a Railways TT (north Indian for TTE, a travelling ticket examiner). I was told if I won a gold in seniors I could get that job. Then I became the national champion in seniors too. Then a lot of offers came my way. Railways TT. At that time Olympics were around the corner, and I heard that I could get an even better job if I went there. After the 2004 Olympics, I was offered a senior TTs job. The pay was good, too. Then I realised there was a career in boxing.I worked as TT for a year and a half. I was the Head TT in Jaipur. I didnt travel on trains, but used to check tickets of passengers who alighted at the Jaipur station.Your coaches say you were an intelligent boxer. Its one thing to have the heart for boxing, but how did you learn the art?I used to read a little bit. Coaches usually ask you to just concentrate on training, and I know boxers dont have that intelligent image. But I believed in reading, whether its a book or newspaper. You always learn from reading. I always had the will to keep learning something new. If only hard work got you medals, donkeys would have been Olympics champions. Bouts are won with your mind. Read. Work hard. Combine them. From the time I entered the senior league, I consciously worked on the mental aspect.One of your earlier coaches, CA Kutappa, says you could figure out your opponents quicker than others, which is crucial in amateur because it is three rounds only. That you dont learn in books.That comes automatically. When you train and focus. When I started, coach Jagdish used to send two-three boxers into the ring. They used to beat me up a lot. I know what a good beating is, and I know how to survive in the ring. I have taken a lot of beating. From behind the coach is hitting you, boxers are hitting you from the front. I have been beaten up a lot. That teaches you.How difficult is it to be a non-cricket sportsman in India?All these things you realise when you hit hard times. That time you realise that as sportsmen even we should have that respect. But cricket has taken itself to a level because it has good administration. If a federation manages boxing the way the BCCI does cricket, of course it will become big. It is one of the biggest sports in the world. You have to organise, you have to meet people, you have to get sponsors, you have to sell ideas to them.Why did it take you so long to turn pro? Amateur boxing anyway is not managed that well in India.Sometimes I think the same thing myself. Better late than never. I should have turned pro soon after 2012 Olympics.Ali, Tyson etc. turned pro just after one Olympics. Didnt you want to go down the same route?I did get two-three offers to turn pro after the 2008 Olympics, but I wanted to play for my country. I went to the world championship in 2009, then the 2010 Commonwealth Games were at home, then 2012 was in sight. So I thought lets do that. I had offers but I thought let me do something for the country first, then I will think about myself.You spoke about 2009 world championships. Thats when you parted ways controversially with Neerav Tomar of IOS, the management company that backed you for the last five years. Why?Kyun kit oh saari ladai hoti hai Haryanvi mein. [In Haryana all fights start with the why]. Where there is a why, there is a fight. What happens in Haryana is a guy asks the other, Arre bhai kahan jaan lag rheya hai? [Hey, where are you going?] The other says, Kyun bataoon tanne? [Why should I tell you?]. And then the first guy says, Wait Ill show you. So dont ask me why.Now you have turned pro with the same management company. How did you guys get back together?Things get sorted out.How difficult was it to come back from the drugs controversy?I used to just sleep. For that one month I slept to my hearts content. For one month I switched off my phone, used to wake up at 10 AM, eat and sleep. Then in the evening if I felt like going to gym, I went; if not, I slept again. My conscience was clear. It wasnt that difficult to come back.What were the changes and challenges of turning pro?Everything. The biggest was to leave my country and go and live and train in Manchester. To be in a new country. Language. Food. No friends. No cushion. Here, you sparred with your friends. There, I didnt know anybody. Technically also I had to change my game completely. Mark Messier Oilers Jersey . Emery skated the length of the ice and fought an unwilling Holtby during the third period of the Flyers 7-0 loss Friday night in Philadelphia. He was given 29 penalty minutes, including a game misconduct. But Emery did not face even a disciplinary hearing with NHL senior vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan because rules 46. Ryan Smyth Oilers Jersey . -- Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson asked his players a simple question during Fridays morning shootaround: How many of them had ever been on a team 14 games over . http://www.hockeyoilersonline.us/Andrej-Sekera-Jersey/ . Miikka Kiprusoff had just announced his retirement after a decade-long run in Calgary and it would be up to Berra and Ramo to fill the void. ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Albert Pujols and Mike Trout just completed their fifth season together in the heart of the Los Angeles Angels lineup. They still havent won a playoff game, and postseason success has never seemed farther away after the Angels worst season since 1999.Trout insisted the distance isnt as great as it appears after Los Angeles needed a September surge just to finish 74-88.Theres a lot of positive things we can take away from this year, said Trout, who got engaged and acquired a puppy during the season. It seemed like every other week, our lineup or our pitching staff took a big hit, but we played good for the last few weeks.Indeed, several key starting pitchers and three top relievers all missed large chunks of the Angels season with major injuries. Not many teams would have the depth to overcome so many losses, but in Orange County, they only highlighted the Angels painfully top-heavy payroll and alarmingly shallow development system.C.J. Wilson made $20 million without throwing a pitch due to shoulder problems, while opening day starter Garrett Richards missed the final five months with an injured elbow ligament. No. 2 starter Andrew Heaney and right-hander Andrew Tropeano probably wont return from Tommy John surgery until 2018. Matt Shoemakers recovery is likely but uncertain after a line drive to the head gave him a brain injury late in the season.Not even another MVP-caliber season from Trout prevented the Angels from sliding 11 games behind last seasons record and a whopping 24 games behind the 2014 team, which had the best record in baseball. Los Angeles had the worst season in manager Mike Scioscias 17 years.We know we need to get better, Scioscia said. Were really confident we will get better. There needs to be some talent added. We all recognize that, but I think the core in there is championship-caliber.Scioscia is expected to return for his 18th season as the longest-tenured manager in baseball, and he plans to keep his coaching staff intact. Owner Arte Moreno also remains publicly confident in first-year general manager Billy Epplers ability to rebuild the Angels foundation after departed GM Jerry Dipotos stormy tenure.Many of the Angels problems going forward are of Morenos making: They already have more than $100 million coommitted to just eight players next season -- and one of those is Josh Hamilton, the long-departed outfielder still being paid by Moreno for the final year of his embarrassing contract. Mark Letestu Oilers Jersey. Here are more things to watch in the offseason:FREE MONEY: The Angels spent to the luxury tax limit this season with the majors seventh-largest payroll, but the huge salaries of pitchers Jered Weaver and Wilson come off the books this winter. Eppler and Moreno likely must spend at least part of that money on new starting pitching, but the Angels finally have options after essentially sitting out of the free-agent market last year.RICHARDS RECOVERY: The Angels rotation plans hinge on the health of Richards, who decided to rest his arm while receiving stem cell therapy in an attempt to avoid Tommy John surgery. He is headed to instructional league play this week, and if he beats the odds and comes back strong, the Angels will have one fewer question mark. If not, Los Angeles has trouble before 2017 even begins.DREAM WEAVER: The Angels havent announced whether they will re-sign Weaver, the second-winningest pitcher in franchise history with 150 wins over the last 11 years. Weaver, who learned to eat innings with control and guile after his velocity declined in recent years, hopes to stay with his only big-league club -- and hey, the Angels clearly need starting pitching.MAYBE MVP: Trout has a strong case for his second AL MVP award after another superlative statistical season, but the Angels ineptitude could cost him the crown. The center fielder led the majors with 123 runs and 116 walks while batting .315 with a .991 OPS, 29 homers, 100 RBI and 30 stolen bases.EX MACHINA: The 36-year-old Pujols has hit the halfway point of his lavish free-agent contract, but still has five years and $140 million remaining. He made big contributions for his money this season: His 119 RBI were fourth-most in the majors and his best since 2009, while he climbed to ninth on baseballs career list with 591 homers. Pujols pursuit of homer milestones should provide entertainment in 2017, but the Angels must pray his production numbers at least remain stable. 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