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Pune’s ‘newspaper boy’ boxer Akshay Mare punches in a national gold in Kolkata

Playing in the Light Fly (46-49kg) weight category, Akshay defeated Praveen Kumar of Uttar Pradesh in the final to clinch the gold.

pune Updated: Dec 10, 2017 23:42 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Ashish Phadnis
Hindustan Times, Pune
Akshay Mare,boxer,pune
Eventually, Akshay emerged as the only gold medallist from the Maharashtra team, which returned with one gold and two silver medals. (HT PHOTO)

City’s emerging boxer Akshay Mare won his maiden national gold medal at the All India Elite Invitational Boxing Championship in Kolkata on Sunday.

Playing in the Light Fly (46-49kg) weight category, Akshay defeated Praveen Kumar of Uttar Pradesh in the final to clinch the gold.

He had defeated Chinmayee of Madhya Pradesh and P Shiva of Andhra Pradesh in earlier rounds. “I won first two bouts in the first rounds, then the fight against Shiva went on for three rounds while the final against Praveen was a little difficult. But I am happy that I managed to fulfil my dream,” said Akshay while speaking to Hindustan Times over the phone from Kolkata.

Eventually, Akshay emerged as the only gold medallist from the Maharashtra team, which returned with one gold and two silver medals.

In the bantam (56kg) category, Sayyed Saad won silver after going down to Himanshu Sharma of Delhi, while in the women’s category, Tejaswani Jivrag lost her final to Madhya Pradesh’s Purnima Rajput in the 51-54kg weight category.

Twenty two-year-old Akshay had earlier won a national bronze in Guwahati, Assam and is a four-time state gold medallist. To earn a living, he was forced to deliver newspapers which made him skip his morning practice. After HT’s report, a Mumbai-based global firm - Dorf Ketal Chemicals India Pvt Ltd came ahead to fully sponsor the talented boxer and Akshay feels that he couldn’t have tasted success without their support.

“It is every player’s dream to get a proper sponsorship or a permanent job, so that they can focus on the game rather than worry about financial problems. With support from Dorf Ketal, I was able to concentrate on my game and diet and this is the outcome of the work we did together,” said Akshay.

First Published: Dec 10, 2017 23:41 IST