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Initially introduced in ancient Greece, boxing has gone through numerous changes over the centuries. Few nations have lost their dominance in the combat sport over time, however, some countries have managed to stay relevant in boxing despite the changed period.
The Boxing Legacy in India
Unlike the well-documented prowess of the United States and Mexico, India was never seen as a boxing superpower. However, in the modern period, Indian athletes are slowly overcoming the odds of international dominance presented by a certain group of countries and becoming World champions.
The change in the boxing scene of India was never an overnight success, it is a result of the sheer hard work done by the people associated and devoted to the sport for decades.
Introduction and Growth of Boxing
Amateur boxing was introduced in the Summer Olympics in 1904 in St. Louis, USA. However, after eight years, the combat sport became an official part of the Olympic program.
India took its first step in the world of boxing in 1925 when the Bombay Presidency Amateur Boxing Federation was formed. After the nation gained freedom from British rule, India had its first stint in boxing at the 1948 London Olympics.
Moreover, the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation was formed in 1949, and the first national boxing championships in India were organized at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai in 1950.
The Indian contingent at the 1948 Olympics consisted of seven boxers. Consequently, Babu Lall was the first Indian boxer to win a match on the global stage. After that, Indian boxers started participating in the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, too.
Key Moments in Indian Boxing History
Hari Singh and Sundar Rao gave India their first medals in the Asian Games in 1958. In 1962, Padam Bahadur Mall won the first Asian Games gold in boxing in the men’s lightweight category for India. Despite Asian success, Indian athletes were constantly failing to perform on the global stage.
No representatives in the combat sport were sent by the subcontinent in the next four editions of the Olympics (1956, 1960, 1964, and 1968) because the Indian athletes were failing to overcome the qualification criteria.
However, the wait finally came to an end after Mehtab Singh, Muniswamy Venu, and Chander Narayanan qualified for the 1972 Munich Olympics. Since then, Indian athletes have always been a part of boxing in the Olympic Games.
Indian Boxers in the International Arena
India has won three medals at the Olympics in boxing (all bronze). Vijender Singh (2008), Mary Kom (2012), and Lovlina Borgohain (2020) are the three athletes who finished on the podium from the Indian contingent.
Profiles of Top Indian boxers
The likes of Kom, Lekha KC, Jenny RL, Sarita Devi, Nikhat Zareen, Nitu Ghanghas, Lovlina Borgohain, and Saweety Boora have managed to become women’s world champions.
With 14 gold medals, female athletes have been extremely successful at the world championships for India. On the other hand, Vijender was the first Indian man to win a bronze medal at the world championships in 2009 while playing in the flyweight, Amit Panghal gave India their first and only silver medal.
Their Journey and Accolades
Vijender Singh started playing the game because he wanted a government job. He made his first appearance in the Olympic Games in 2004 Athens, where he suffered a first-round loss. The Haryana-based boxer used the loss as fuel to win India’s first boxing medal at the most prestigious sporting event in 2008. He is also among the very few professional boxers from India.
Inspired by Manipuri boxer Dingko Singh, who won gold at the 1998 Asian Games, MC Mary Kom decided to choose boxing as her sport. In the 2012 London Olympics, fighting in the flyweight category, she won India’s second Olympic medal in boxing. She also has won six World Championships and five Asian Championships gold medals.
At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Lovlina Borgohain proved to everyone that she was destined for greatness. Starting from Muay Thai, she later transitioned into boxing. In addition to that, she is also a one-time World as well as Asian Champion. She also won India’s only silver medal in boxing at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games.
The Future of Boxing in India
Since the last decade, India has become a dominant name in the women’s division of boxing. At the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Nikhat Zareen and Nitu Ghanghas bagged two gold medals, while Jaismine Lamboria won a bronze for India.
In the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, Lovlina Borgohain won the only silver medal in boxing for India. Moreover, Preeti Pawar, Parveen Hooda, and Nikhat Zareen won bronze medals in their respective weight categories.
Upcoming talents and prospects
In women’s boxing, India has a variety of fresh talents that hold the ability to dominate the world in the future. Zareen (27) and Borgohain (26) are currently leading the Indian boxing contingent. They are also an inspiration to young boxers such as Ghanghas (22), Lamboria (22), Pawar (19), and Hooda (23), whose abilities will be on a test in 2024 Paris.
Earlier this year at the World Championship, India won three bronze medals in the men’s division, which also marked their best-ever performance in the competition. Apart from the names of Deepak Bhoria (26) and Mohammed Hussamuddin (29), Nishant Dev’s success caught a major part of the limelight. The 22-year-old can be the next flag bearer in the men’s boxing for India.
The role of National championships
National championships in any sport hold the utmost importance because new athletes can only find a way up in the hierarchy by Initially unfurling the opportunity in their nations. The national championships also help the athletes get exposure and later represent the nation in the South Asian Games, Asian Games, and World Championships. A well-balanced system in the national circuit will have a direct effect on the medal tally of a nation in global events.
Betting Tips for Boxing buffs
Every boxing style has its own merits as well as drawbacks. As a result, it’s very important to keep an eye on the previous results and the current form of fighters before betting on their name.
Decoding fighter styles and strategies
There are four main styles in boxing. Those are:
Pressure fighter: It is an orthodox style of boxing which is majorly used by aggressive boxers, where a fighter tries to pressure his opponent by unleashing a great number of punches combined with different combinations at quick intervals.
Out-boxer: Out-boxer is the exact opposite of a pressure fighter. An out-boxer takes the time to understand the match by saving his energy and relying on technique. They usually fight with a defensive game plan by only attacking open opportunities and the mistakes made by the opposition.
Brawler: A Brawler, which is also known as a slugger or puncher, displays the brutal factor of the game. As compared to the other two styles, brawling has become quite rare in the modern day. Different strategies, combinations, and precautions have been introduced in the last few decades, which has made the sport less lethal.
Box-Puncher: Box-punching is seen as the most unpredictable style of boxing. A box puncher holds the ability to transition his game from offence to defence according to the requirement of the fight. However, one of the major demerits is that a box-puncher can’t hold the expertise of being a pressure fighter or an out-boxer.
Tips for successful boxing bets
Research is the first step towards a successful boxing bet. One should only bet on a fighter if they are familiar with this sport and all the potential outcomes. The weaknesses of a fighter are equally important to understand as the strengths.
There are two major types of boxing bets: The result of a fight / the margin of the win, and when the match will end. Result bets are settled after the end of the fight, while the other ones are concluded after every single round.