Rahul Gandhi booed by crowd during Vijender’s title fight

Sankha Ghosh / 17 July 2016


It was certainly an embarrassing moment for Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi as he was booed by the crowd at the Thyagaraj stadium where he had come to see Vijender Singh’s WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight Championship title bout on Saturday evening.

Sporting a grey t-shirt and denims, Rahul Gandhi entered the stadium only to witness a part of the crowd boo him and then chant ‘Modi, Modi’, referring to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

However, Gandhi remained calm and didn’t react to the boos of the crowd and he gave only a wise smile in return before leaving the stadium.

The event was attended by the who’s who of sports, entertainment and politics, including boxer M C Mary Kom, who looked a bit uncomfortable while acknowledging a loud applause from the crowd, star wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, cricketers Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, actor Randeep Hooda.

On Saturday, in the first 10-round bout of Vijender’s career, there was no knockout as the large home crowd would have expected. But Vijender still managed to extend his record to 7-0 with a unanimous decision against Australian Kerry Hope at the Thyagraj sports complex.

This was his first fight for a belt of any kind. And Vijender annexed the WBO Asia-Pacific Super middleweight belt. Hope, a southpaw with an ungainly stance, took the home boxer the distance.

Vijender won the bout by unanimous decision, with the judges scoring it 98-92, 98-92 and 100-92.

The victory will eventually help Vijender move up the world rankings and he can now look for a bigger share in the cut-throat business of pro boxing.

Hope, in a silver coloured half-sleeve jacket and white and green shorts, entered the ring first. The Indian wore a white, hooded robe as he arrived. Initially, it was shadow boxing and circling around the ring.

Vijender could land only one odd straight right on Hope’s face. The Aussie generally kept a distance, trying to throw punches from afar that rarely connected.

But it was Vijender who gave a perfect end to India’s first major fight night.