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Temper proof: exorcising the ghosts of Milan defeat

Temper is not his biggest enemy, anymore, and Suranjoy Singh, for a change, is fighting opponents these days. The one-time angry young man of Indian boxing has mellowed and by his own admission, “that change has helped evolve as a boxer”, reports Abhishek Hore.

other Updated: Dec 13, 2009 23:02 IST
Abhishek Hore

Temper is not his biggest enemy, anymore, and Suranjoy Singh, for a change, is fighting opponents these days. The one-time angry young man of Indian boxing has mellowed and by his own admission, “that change has helped evolve as a boxer”.

On Sunday the 23-year-old arrived from Baku, Ajerbaijan after winning India a historic gold, in the President’s Cup, the season-ending inter-continental tournament.

After an ignominious first-round exit in the world championship in Milan a few months ago, questions were raised about his temperament. What followed were some anger-management sessions with Gurbux Singh Sandhu, the chief national coach, and it worked wonders. “I am calm now,” said Surojoy.

But that wasn’t the case earlier. “I would lose my temper too easily in the ring, used to lose from winning situations and would often become extra defensive” Suranjoy recalled.

“The coach would show me video footage of my bouts and point out my mistakes, where I had lost my temper and how that contributed to my defeats,” he said.

“Things have changed now and I attribute my success in Baku to anger management,” said Suronjoy, who had broken a 15-year jinx, by winning gold, in the Asian Championship earlier this year.

Not only did the fly weight boxer triumph in the 51kg category, Suranjoy was also declared the best boxer of the tournament for his strong showing. He started with a bang, beating Beijing Olympic bronze medallist Vincenzo Picardi and then followed it up with a resounding 10-4 win against Mexican Braulio Avila. “The loss at the worlds really spurred me to do well here.”

Sandhu, one of the factors behind Suronjoy’s meteoric rise over the last 12 months, was a proud man. “It has been one of the best years of my coaching career. Because of his dominance in the final (Suranjoy beat France’s Nordine Oubaali 8-1) he won the best-boxer award also,” Sandhu said.

How did things turn around? Sandhu said: “The loss at the worlds was the turning point. His game was more about power before that. Now, he has learnt to use his mind, he mixes it up well and most importantly, he has realised how damaging his temper had been to his career.”

“Due to the boxers’ achievements, we are now considered an elite nation in world boxing. The foreigners want to train with our boxers,” said Sandhu.