It has long been said that the nation of India is a sleeping giant in terms of boxing. However, it now seems that this giant is waking up!
A growing number of shows are being scheduled each year, more and more boxers are turning professional, and there has been a sharp increase in Indian boxers winning respectable titles.
The World Boxing Council, under the initiative of President Mauricio Suleiman, went so far as to create the WBC India Committee with the Indian Boxing Council in August 2021. The purpose being to capitalise on this growing interest and to nurture the development of professional boxing in the area.
“I am immensely proud to bear witness to new horizons for boxing in India. The WBC recognizes the rich heritage of this proud sporting nation, where we have already witnessed several Indian boxers crowned with WBC and WBC affiliated championships over the past number of years,” said Suleiman in an official statement.
The Driving Force
Arif Khan, who founded The Punch Boxing, is arguably the biggest and most successful promoter in the region. Since stepping into the promotional business in 2018, he has staged eight very popular shows across the country. These shows have received a significant amount of coverage on local television and in the press, with WBC titles even being contested too.
With a potential show being lined up in Dubai next year, Khan said this of his future plans: “The Punch Boxing is going global very soon. Focus will be on bringing international talent to India and turning the best amateur fighters into professionals.”
The Rising Talent
Although there are a number of Indian boxers who have caught the eye recently, a couple to watch out for are Sagar Narwat and Harsh Gill.
Narwat is a skilful Super-Welterweight who is showing great promise. He picked up the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental title in his 15th pro bout, but has only made one appearance this year. His growing legion of fans will be eagerly awaiting his return to the ring in early 2023.
Harsh Gill has also attracted the interest of numerous boxing fans in his homeland. After starting his career as a Heavyweight, he dropped down to Cruiserweight to challenge Sung Jin Kwak for the WBC Asian Continental Title – which he duly won by stoppage in the fourth round. Although his style still needs a bit of fine tuning, it is certainly exciting and has taken him to eight straight victories.
“My core focus is to fight for a Cruiserweight world title. With The Punch Boxing, I will be the first boxer from India who will be a World champion.”
Whatever the future holds for Gill, or indeed Narwat, we will surely see an Indian world champion in the not-too-distant future.