|Trương Đình Hoàng (left) sparring ahead of his appearance at 'LEAD: The Beginning', a professional boxing event which will be held on October 1 in HCM City. Photos courtesy of of Shadow Entertainment|
HÀ NỘI — 'The King' Trương Đình Hoàng is full of confidence ahead of his first professional boxing bout despite being out of the ring for over two years.
For different reasons, the WBA Asia super middleweight champion has not competed professionally since he successfully defended the title in 2020. Having been out of the ring for close to 32 months, he will be looking to shake some ring rust in HCM City.
He will face Indonesian Robert Kopa, the main event at 'LEAD: The Beginning' today.
"I have planned for this match for a long time. In the last eight weeks, my team and I have carefully prepared for everything from fitness and technique to tactics," Hoàng told Việt Nam News.
"The match marks my return to the pro map after two years. I am excited and feel a little pressure. I want my return to be a really good process from preparation to competition and a push for my next targets."
Hoàng, 32, is younger than his rival and won his two previous fights via knock-out.
In his last outing, the WBA Asia bell match in early 2020, Hoàng dominated Yuttana Wongda of Thailand in the Philippines.
Kopa has been boxing for 14 years. The 38-year-old recorded 14 wins (4 KOs), three draws and 11 losses (5 KOs).
Indonesia's No 1 middleweight boxer, who is now 38, is not expected to put up much of a test for Hoàng.
Kopa is on a five-fight skid, with three losses coming by stoppage. He is without a win in five years.
Hoàng isn't getting ahead of himself and knows he will have to work hard to beat Kopa.
|Trương ĐÌnh Hoàng (left), referee Nguyễn Cao Nhân and Robert Kopa of Indonesia (right) pose for a photo at the press conference on September 30.|
"Age is my advantage while my shorter pro time is a disadvantage, but I have been boxing for many years locally and internationally," said Hoàng, who will also have the backing of a home crowd.
"My coaches researched him and gave me information. I have myself watched him through video clips. Then, we worked out suitable tactics to face Kopa.
"A week before the match, I am not training with high intensity, but to improve my endurance and agility.
"Previously, I was a little worried about my fitness, but I hope my hard work over the past months will help me during the eight rounds. I will take the initiative when the opening bell sounds," said Hoàng.
Hoàng, who won an amateur boxing silver from the 31st SEA Games in May, is determined to win ahead of defending his WBA Asia title later this year.
"Definitely, I will step into the ring full of confidence. I always believe in victory, which is a strong force for me during the whole match," said Hoàng, the first Vietnamese boxer to win WBA East Asia title and WBA Asia belt.
|Trương Đình Hoáng (right) training ahead of his first pro bout in two years. Photo of Shadow Entertainment|
According to Shadow Entertainment's organisers, 'LEAD: The Beginning' will gather the top 28 boxers from Việt Nam and Asia. They will battle it out at the Saigon Sports Club for six to eight rounds in the ring.
The event by Shadow Entertainment is expected to be a monthly competition, creating opportunities for talented athletes to perform and gain experience.
Another prospect with some hope is WBA Asia champion Lê Hữu Toàn who takes on Indonesia's highly experienced Silem Serang.
Toàn took a competitive decision-win over Kitidech Hirunsuk in March to claim the WBA Asia title. He will be looking to build on that win and gain valuable experience.
The night will also feature: Nguyễn Ngọc Hải (Việt Nam) vs Sonny Manakane (Indonesia) at 66kg; Arvin Jhon Paciones (Philippines) vs Sulis Barrera (Indonesia) at 50kg, and an all-Vietnamese female match Nguyễn Thị Phương Hoài vs Lê Thị Thanh Hậu in the 90kg class, among other matches. VNS