No one gave Paramjeet Samota a chance to storm into the final of the XXX Commonwealth Boxing Championships on Monday. Even his coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu, when asked on Sunday how many boxers would win on Monday, said, three out of four — Vijender Singh, Dinesh Kumar and Suranjoy Singh.
On Monday, however, even the boxer could not believe he entered the final.
Samota, who started his career as a wrestler, will play New Zealand’s Joseph Parker in his first major senior final.
“I can’t believe it,” said Samota after he beat Scotland’s Ross Henderson 5-2. "For the first time I have defeated an European boxer in a major event.”
Even chief coach Sandhu had a few words of praise. “Samota proved me wrong and I am overjoyed on his victory," said Sandhu. “In heavy weights, it's more of power punches than skill. Samota was both quick and powerful,” he added.
Interestingly, Samota’s first love was wrestling. He joined an akhara as a kid but his father Pardeep Singh, also a boxer, shifted him to boxing. “I am from a village where wrestling is popular,” said Samota. “My father introduced me to Haryana state coach Vishnu Bhagwan in Bhiwani,” he said.