Indian boxer beats Chinese rival then gives back belt in bid to ease 'tension' between two nations

'I don't want tension on the border, it's a message of peace, that's important,' said WBO Asia Pacific super middleweight champion Vijender Singh 

Greg Wilford@Greg_Wilford
Sunday 06 August 2017 10:18
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Indian boxer and WBO Asia-Pacific Super Middleweight champion Vijender Singh (L) throws a punch at WBO Oriental Super Middleweight champion of China Zulpikar Maimaitiali during their double title bout at the National Sports Complex of India (NSCI) Dome in Mumbai on August 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PUNIT PARANJPEPUNIT
Indian boxer and WBO Asia-Pacific Super Middleweight champion Vijender Singh (L) throws a punch at WBO Oriental Super Middleweight champion of China Zulpikar Maimaitiali during their double title bout at the National Sports Complex of India (NSCI) Dome in Mumbai on August 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PUNIT PARANJPEPUNIT

An Indian boxer beat his Chinese rival in a championship bout and then offered to hand his belt back to him to ease "tension" between the two nations.

Vijender Singh, 31, won a unanimous decision against China's Zulpikar Maimaitiali, 23, after a 10-round fight at the National Sports Club of India in Mumbai on Sunday.

Singh successfully defended his WBO Asia Pacific super middleweight title and also took his opponent's WBO Oriental super middleweight belt after the three judges' scorecards were announced.

But the Indian star handed Maimaitiali's title back as celebrities including Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan watched on at the star-studded event.

"I don't want this title. I will give it back to Zulpikar," he told the packed arena.

"I don't want tension on the border. It's a message of peace. That's important."

The countries have been involved in a lingering dispute over a contested region high in the Himalayas where China, India and Bhutan meet.

Indian boxer and WBO Asia-Pacific Super Middleweight champion Vijender Singh (L) throws a punch at WBO Oriental Super Middleweight champion of China Zulpikar Maimaitiali during their double title bout at the National Sports Complex of India (NSCI) Dome in Mumbai on August 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PUNIT PARANJPEPUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images (AFP )
Indian boxer and WBO Asia-Pacific Super Middleweight champion Vijender Singh (C) celebrates after winning the double title bout against China's Zulpikar Maimaitiali at the National Sports Complex of India (NSCI) Dome in Mumbai on August 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PUNIT PARANJPEPUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images (AFP )
Indian boxer and WBO Asia-Pacific Super Middleweight champion Vijender Singh celebrates after winning the double title bout against China's Zulpikar Maimaitiali at the National Sports Complex of India (NSCI) Dome in Mumbai on August 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PUNIT PARANJPEPUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images (AFP )
Indian boxer and WBO Asia-Pacific Super Middleweight champion Vijender Singh (C) celebrates after winning the double title bout against China's Zulpikar Maimaitiali at the National Sports Complex of India (NSCI) Dome in Mumbai on August 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PUNIT PARANJPEPUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images

Singh, who won the title fight 96-93, 95-94, 95-94, is still technically the WBO Oriental super middleweight champion.

His win and gesture of peace sparked celebrations on social media, with Indian MP Vinod Chavda tweeting: "Heartiest Congratulations to @boxervijender for a brilliant victory!! Extremely proud."

Additional reporting by agencies.

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