How a newspaper article changed boxer Sagar Ahlawat’s life at the Commonwealth Games : The Tribune India



New Delhi, July 23

An aversion to studying accompanied by a ‘life-changing’ newspaper article about the 2015 ‘fight of the century’ between legends Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao marked the start of Sagar Ahlawat’s boxing dream.

Seven years later, the 20-year-old is preparing for the men’s super heavyweight +92kg competition at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, where he will don the Indian jersey for the very first time.

“I was not good at studying. Mother se padhai hoti hi nahi thi. (I just couldn’t study) So, I started looking for something else to do after 12th class,” Sagar told PTI.

Coming from a farming family, Sagar had no connection with sports. But one day, he comes across a full-page newspaper article about the famous fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao, considered one of the most anticipated sporting events in history.

Reading the information about the two great boxers and their achievements, Sagar understood where his future lay.

“Nobody played sports in my family. I knew a little about boxing but I felt inspired after reading about them (Mayweather and Pacquiao) and their accomplishments,” the man of few words said.

He started training at the Jawahar Bagh stadium in Jhajjar, about 20 km from his village of Dhandlan.

“I started boxing in 2017. I trained at Jawahar Bagh Stadium.”

The Haryana pugilist wanted a career in boxing but sometimes had to miss training to help his family on the family farm.

His first major victory came a few years later at the All India University Games, where he won the gold medal. He followed that up by winning back-to-back titles at the Khelo India University Games.

“I participated in my first university games in 2019 where I got the gold medal. I won the gold medal in Khelo India University Games in 2020 and then again the following year”, said the super heavyweight boxer.

A sensational silver medal on his Senior National Championships debut in 2021 led to his induction into the Patiala National Camp.

Sagar continued his impressive run at the CWG Selection Trials. He stunned Tokyo Olympics quarter-finalist Satish Kumar before defeating defending national champion Narender to book his ticket to Birmingham for his first international tournament.

“No, no, I’m not nervous (it’s my first tournament) because I trained well. I want to fight well in my fights,” Southpaw said.

At the CWG, Indian boxers are expected to face stiff competition from boxers from England and Ireland, among others.

Sagar may be inexperienced, but the boxer from Haryana knows with absolute clarity which aspect of his game he will rely on the most to win his fights.

“I’m a little weak in technique but my power is my strength. I will use my power to win fights,” Sagar said confidently.


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