Photos: An uppercut to cricket, wrestling in Najafgarh boxing academies

Updated On Oct 29, 2018 10:07 AM IST

Every day, one can spot hundreds of children and teenagers practising punches inside the many boxing academies that have come up in Delhi’s Najafgarh and its surrounding villages in recent years. Increasing numbers are taking to boxing in an area known for having produced cricketing great Virender Sehwag and Olympic medal winning wrestler Sushil Kumar. Coaches say this upswing in interest is backed by the growing number of Indian boxers making it big, an increasing number of tournaments and championships in India, and glamour associated with boxing. Even Bollywood has a part to pay in Najafgarh’s boxing craze.

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In Najafgarh, known for having produced cricketing great Virender Sehwag and Olympic silver medal winning wrestler Sushil Kumar, a silent boxing revolution is taking place. Every day, hundreds of children and teenagers --both girls and boys—can be spotted practising punches inside the many boxing academies that have sprung up in Najafgarh and its surrounding villages. (Vipin Kumar / HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 29, 2018 10:07 AM IST

In Najafgarh, known for having produced cricketing great Virender Sehwag and Olympic silver medal winning wrestler Sushil Kumar, a silent boxing revolution is taking place. Every day, hundreds of children and teenagers --both girls and boys—can be spotted practising punches inside the many boxing academies that have sprung up in Najafgarh and its surrounding villages. (Vipin Kumar / HT Photo)

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A boy rests ringside at BM Boxing Academy in Najafgarh. This academy, whose founder is Brij Mohan, was inaugurated recently. Until a few years ago, boxing didn’t hold much sway in Najafgarh, but this area where youngsters have traditionally chosen kabaddi, wrestling or cricket, is becoming Delhi’s nursery for boxing. (Vipin Kumar / HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 29, 2018 10:07 AM IST

A boy rests ringside at BM Boxing Academy in Najafgarh. This academy, whose founder is Brij Mohan, was inaugurated recently. Until a few years ago, boxing didn’t hold much sway in Najafgarh, but this area where youngsters have traditionally chosen kabaddi, wrestling or cricket, is becoming Delhi’s nursery for boxing. (Vipin Kumar / HT Photo)

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Najafgarh in Delhi is a sprawling suburb bordering Haryana. Boxing coaches say this fast-growing interest in the combat sport among youngsters has to do with the rising number of Indian boxers making it big in international events, an increasing number of boxing tournaments and championships in India, and glamour associated with boxing. (Vipin Kumar / HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 29, 2018 10:07 AM IST

Najafgarh in Delhi is a sprawling suburb bordering Haryana. Boxing coaches say this fast-growing interest in the combat sport among youngsters has to do with the rising number of Indian boxers making it big in international events, an increasing number of boxing tournaments and championships in India, and glamour associated with boxing. (Vipin Kumar / HT Photo)

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Bollywood has also played a big role in popularising the sport, with several boxing-related movies --like Mary Kom, Mukkabaaz , Saala Khadoos -- becoming major hits. “Youngsters in this predominately rural area are intelligent, well- built, and have a fighting spirit. It is an aspirational sport for them,” says Brij Mohan, whose new academy attracts children from many neighbouring villages. (Vipin Kumar / HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 29, 2018 10:07 AM IST

Bollywood has also played a big role in popularising the sport, with several boxing-related movies --like Mary Kom, Mukkabaaz , Saala Khadoos -- becoming major hits. “Youngsters in this predominately rural area are intelligent, well- built, and have a fighting spirit. It is an aspirational sport for them,” says Brij Mohan, whose new academy attracts children from many neighbouring villages. (Vipin Kumar / HT Photo)

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Kitted up for training, children talk during a break. There are many villages in Najafgarh that now have their own boxing academies. Delhi Rural Boxing Academy in Baprola, the native village of Olympic silver-winning wrestler Sushil Kumar is one example. Anil Solanki, its founder said that many children from economically weaker families are getting into boxing, which they feel will help change their fortunes. (Vipin Kumar / HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 29, 2018 10:07 AM IST

Kitted up for training, children talk during a break. There are many villages in Najafgarh that now have their own boxing academies. Delhi Rural Boxing Academy in Baprola, the native village of Olympic silver-winning wrestler Sushil Kumar is one example. Anil Solanki, its founder said that many children from economically weaker families are getting into boxing, which they feel will help change their fortunes. (Vipin Kumar / HT Photo)

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Boxing coach Anil Fauji trains students. Najafgarh Boxing Academy, which started three years ago, has 125 students and claims 40 national level players as products. The academy’s brick-red walls have black and white posters of American boxers, such as Floyd Mayweather, Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali and Indian boxing champions such Mary Kom, Akhil Kumar, Vijender Singh and Vikas Krishnan, among others. (Vipin Kumar / HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 29, 2018 10:07 AM IST

Boxing coach Anil Fauji trains students. Najafgarh Boxing Academy, which started three years ago, has 125 students and claims 40 national level players as products. The academy’s brick-red walls have black and white posters of American boxers, such as Floyd Mayweather, Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali and Indian boxing champions such Mary Kom, Akhil Kumar, Vijender Singh and Vikas Krishnan, among others. (Vipin Kumar / HT Photo)

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A young boxer puts on hand wraps before a training session. Rohit Shokeen, a boxing coach at Najafgarh stadium, said that children there are more focused on sports than studies and parents support them. Most youngsters want to get into the armed forces, and sports only enhance their chances. (Vipin Kumar / HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 29, 2018 10:07 AM IST

A young boxer puts on hand wraps before a training session. Rohit Shokeen, a boxing coach at Najafgarh stadium, said that children there are more focused on sports than studies and parents support them. Most youngsters want to get into the armed forces, and sports only enhance their chances. (Vipin Kumar / HT Photo)

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Samaspur and Dhansa are among other villages that have boxing academies, complete with boxing rings. And many academies have produced boxers who have participated in national and international championships. But Brij Mohan says that nowhere in the city is the craze for boxing as intense as in Najafgarh. (Vipin Kumar / HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 29, 2018 10:07 AM IST

Samaspur and Dhansa are among other villages that have boxing academies, complete with boxing rings. And many academies have produced boxers who have participated in national and international championships. But Brij Mohan says that nowhere in the city is the craze for boxing as intense as in Najafgarh. (Vipin Kumar / HT Photo)

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