He packs the perfect punch every time he is inside the ring. Olympic champion Vijender Singh has been on a winning streak and many youngsters have been inspired by his success and his confidence, to take up boxing as a competitive sport. The WBO Asia-Pacific Super MIddleweight Champion says passion for the sport and willingness to take up any challenge, is what makes a true sportsperson. Read on to know his tips on teaching boxing to children --
Your family has been a big support for you. Your father worked extra hours to fund your education. Tell us about the sacrifices your parents made in shaping your life as a boxer. How important is family support in making it big in a sport like boxing?
Family is an integral part of anything that you do in life. My decision to get into boxing was welcomed by my family. My father did a lot for me, not only did he fund my education but also funded my boxing training. His support is something I will never be able to repay. My wife and son are equally important in my boxing career as they have supported me without questioning my capabilities and have full faith in me.
You won at the Olympics and Commonwealth games and made India proud. You have recently won the WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight Champion title. How do you prepare and motivate yourself before a big game?
My training and preparation changes before every game, it all depends on the opponent that I have to face. My trainer Lee plays a very important role in motivating me and gives me step-by-step guidance to prepare for the big game.
What was the first reaction in your family when, as a child, you decided to take up boxing as a sport?
Since I come from a small town in Haryana, when I decided to take up boxing, it came as a shock to my family. No one knew very well what boxing as a sport is and what recognition and fame it can bring to an individual. But eventually, everyone understood more about boxing and were appreciative of my decision.
Boxing does not enjoy as much popularity as cricket or football in our country. What can we do to make it popular?
Boxing is not at par with other sports but I can see it is gaining the popularity it deserves. If we just talk about my three fights in India, people have increasingly come out and supported me and also enjoyed the fight nights. We need to create a body, motivate more people to take up boxing, promote it heavily and make sure it reaches even to the smaller towns of India. We must also provide all the facilities for people to train in India so that they don’t have to think of going out of the country.
Parents are scared that boxing can be dangerous, so not many encourage it. What can we tell parents, whose children are interested in boxing?
All sport is dangerous. If you are playing you will get hurt regardless of what sport you are in, even cricketers suffer injury. Yes, agreed in boxing you can directly get punched in the face but that’s how the sport is. All I want to tell every parent is, let your child live his dream, let him do what he feels like.
What are the qualities required for a child to learn boxing?
The passion for the sport, the willingness to take up any challenge that comes your way and be prepared to get punched (laughs). You have to train, train every day and train hard to prepare yourself. Boxing also requires you to be mentally stable, because you can’t take hasty decisions when you are inside the ring.
What is the right age for a child to start boxing? How does a parent go about the first few steps?
The right age to start any sport including boxing is as early as possible, but since boxing is more serious than other sports I would say a child should begin boxing around 10-12 years of age. Parents can go to respective Sports authority of India training centres and the State Associations where trainers prepare young kids for boxing.
What are the training facilities available in India?
A. I have trained in Bhiwani and SAI training centres in Patiala, and the high-altitude training centre in Pune.
What other life skills does boxing teach?
Boxing teaches a lot of balance and mental stability in life. Every individual needs to be mentally strong to face the opponents in the ring, you have to make the right move at the right time.
How many hours of training and practice is required every day?
You can’t really define a particular time slot for training, the more you train the better you become. I train 5-6 hours daily and when a fight night is coming closer my training hours increase.
How does your son react to the sport you are a part of?
He is only four years old, as of right now he gets confused as to why am I famous. He doesn’t understand why people want to get pictures clicked with me, so I tell him I am a boxer, he understands punches but he doesn’t understand the sport just as yet.
You wanted to be a soldier? Does boxing teach patriotism more than any other sport?
If you see my recent fight, I fought thinking in some way I can teach the Chinese a lesson and that is exactly what I did. When people are cheering for you, when the entire nation is rooting for you, the patriotism in you rises on its own.
Your message for all the young kids who want to take up boxing
Just go for it, boxing as a sport is really motivating. Take up the sport and make your country proud.
ParentCircle is a magazine imparting an important message – sports is an important way of life. What’s your message for the readers of ParentCircle?
Let your child do what he/she wants to, encourage him if he wants to take up a sport. Sports in our country is upcoming and more and more youngsters should take part in it.
Boxing academies you can check out:
Mary Kom Regional Boxing Foundation
Where: Imphal, Manipur
What to look out for: Coaching for physical growth, psychological development and mind control abilities to be a champion
Whom to contact: 096121 39139
More details: http://marykomfoundation.org/
Manoj Kumar Boxing Academy
Where: Kurukshetra, Haryana
What to look out for: Employs modern techniques and the best coaches
Whom to contact: +91 - 1744 227 021
More details: http://www.manojkumarboxingacademy.in/
Bhiwani Boxing Club
What to look out for: Vijender Singh who won a bronze medal for the nation at the 2008 Beijing Olympics is from this Academy
Whom to contact: +91-9416761251, +91-9671777771
More details: http://bhiwaniboxingclub.org/
Universal Boxing Academy
Where: Hisar, Haryana
What to look out for: Coaching from the ‘knockout man,’ Rajesh Sheoran
Whom to contact: Director and Coach at+91-9896864382
More details: http://universalboxingacademy.com/
Amjad Khan Boxing Training Centre
Where: New Delhi
What to look out for: Aims to introduce boxing into regular school curriculum so children can choose boxing as a career
Whom to contact: +91-9599610232
More details: http://akbtc.in/