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2019 AIBA World Boxing Championships

I never get overawed by reputations of opponents: Boxer Satish Kumar

Boxer Satish Kumar has made the super heavyweight category literally his ‘own’ with his sheer consistency and largely injury-free boxing career.

I never get overawed by reputations of opponents: Boxer Satish Kumar
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By

Suhrid Barua

Published: 5 Sep 2019 6:05 AM GMT

The super heavyweight category in Indian boxing hasn’t seen much of ‘chopping and changing’ (at least in major tournaments), unlike most other weight categories, where different pugilists are not picked owing to injury or poor form. Satish Kumar has made the super heavyweight category literally his ‘own’ with his sheer consistency and largely injury-free boxing career. And when you realise that Satish at 30, is India’s best bet in the super heavyweight category, you can only admire the tenacity of this Bulandshahar guy, who has left many of his young peers behind and emerged as India’s go-to-man as far as the super heavyweight category is concerned. 

It will not be wrong to suggest that Satish took over the ‘super heavyweight category mantle’ from Paramjeet Samota, who had won the super heavyweight (he won the senior nationals for five consecutive years, 2007-2011 and was the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and 2010 Asiad bronze medallist) – in fact, a young Satish had faced Paramjeet Samota in the final of the 2011 Senior Nationals at New Delhi.

“Paramjeet was dominating the super heavyweight category then, but for me, it was my first Senior Nationals final, and I had nothing to lose. I went all out and even won the first round before he got the better of him in the next two rounds,” recalls Satish, whose effort heralded his arrival in the Indian boxing scene.

Satish Kumar against Kazakhstan boxer Ivan Dychko.
Satish Kumar against Kazakhstan boxer Ivan Dychko

The upcoming AIBA 2019 World Championships to be held at Yekaterinburg, Russia from September 7-21 will be the fourth time that Satish will appear in the big-ticket event. The Uttar Pradesh boxer had earlier featured in the 2013, 2015 and 2017 editions. Interestingly, Satish had reached the quarterfinals of the 2013 World Championships and was subsequently declared ‘medically unfit’ to fight the quarterfinal bout against 2012 London Olympics bronze-medallist and local hero Ivan Dychko, which meant that the Kazakh boxer received a walkover and went to bag a silver medal at the 2013 World Championships. 

Certain things are not in your hands. I had outboxed Belarus’ Yan Sudzilouski 3-0 in the pre-quarterfinal bout but sustained a cut above my right eye and declared unfit to fight.

Of course, luck plays a big part in boxing, like many other sports. At the 2017 World Championships in Hamburg, he ran into Azerbaijan’s Magomedrasul Majidov in the first round and lost to him tamely – Majidov went on to win the gold – his third world crown in the superheavyweight.

Besides Magomedrasul Majidov, the super heavyweight category features big guns like Kazakhstan's Kamshybek Kunkabayev, Uzbekistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov and Australia’s Joseph Goodall. Clearly, the task is cut out for Satish, but he is unperturbed about his opponents. Satish buzzes with confidence and says:

I never get overawed by reputations of opponents, nor do I underestimate them as I believe every boxer playing in the Olympics will have quality. I’m training hard for the 2019 World Championships and want to attain a podium finish in Russia and subsequently qualify for the Tokyo Olympics and make my country proud.

Unlike the previous World Championships, the 2019 edition will not have any Olympic quotas for boxers owing to the suspension of AIBA. “This tourney will be a good exposure for our Olympic qualifiers to be held early next year. A good performance in Russia will stand me in good stead for the Olympic qualifiers,” Satish exudes an air of positivity. 

Satish Kumar bagged the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games 2018
Satish Kumar bagged the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games 2018

But there is one thing that Satish agrees – the fierce competition for places in the national side. “No boxer can lower his guard. There are four to five boxers competing in each category, which augurs well for Indian boxing. Even if you win a medal in any major event, you have to hit the trials which is good for everyone.”

Like any sportsman, the Indian super heavyweight boxer misses his family as he is always away from home either travelling for tournaments or at national camps. Satish got married to Savita Yadav in 2011 and has two kids – a six-year-old daughter and a five-year-old son. “My dream is to win an Olympic medal, and I am striving for that. I miss my family as I am always away from home for long periods. My son keeps telling me over the phone ‘Papa you are always busy with boxing’ – my family members always motivate me to ensure I am pumped up for the more significant cause – boxing,” the Indian Army Subedar signs off.

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