Bahadur Poon excited about Pro debut

Som Bahadur Poon’s long-time wish to have a taste of professional boxing spurred on the multiple National champion to put in the hard work when he got an offer to be part of the Indian Boxing Council (IBC) Pro Fight Night in Imphal on Sunday.

Poon, a former Commonwealth championship gold medallist and a Commonwealth Games silver medallist, had to start from the scratch under the watchful eyes of renowned trainer Joe Clough in Rohtak.

Som Bahadur Poon has lost nine kgs in the last month. It’s not an easy task for someone who hung up his gloves more than eight years back and is in his mid-thirties.

But Poon’s long-time wish to have a taste of professional boxing spurred on the multiple National champion to put in the hard work when he got an offer to be part of the Indian Boxing Council (IBC) Pro Fight Night in Imphal on Sunday.

Poon, a former Commonwealth championship gold medallist and a Commonwealth Games silver medallist, had to start from the scratch under the watchful eyes of renowned trainer Joe Clough in Rohtak. The focus was on enhancing his endurance and adding explosive power to his punches.

“I have learnt more about landing punches and blocking. I have been focusing on techniques and doing a lot of controlled sparring featuring a combination of punches.

“Other international boxers, such as Sarita Devi and Pinki Jangra, who will also have their pro debuts on the same day as mine, are also training here. I am learning a lot of things from them as well,” Poon told The Hindu.

Poon is excited to return to the disciplined life of a boxer. “It is quite natural — when you leave a sport, you eat whatever you feel like, and put on some weight. After coming here, I have come down from 88kg to 79kg. It is good because my fight will be in 79kg category.”

The headgear, a common feature in non-professional bouts during Poon’s active years, has no place in professional boxing. And Poon has to adapt to this change. “We have been doing some of the sparring sessions with the headgear and some without.”

The Armyman, who was among the first batch of boxers who got clearance from the Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) to turn professional, had taken up the task of coaching 40-50 fellow colleagues after quitting boxing.

“I have been training with my students and teaching them technical aspects of boxing. So my fitness level has been good.”

Poon’s students and family are firmly behind his decision to become a professional boxer. “My students are excited about my fight. My family is behind my decision to turn pro,” said Poon, who expected a lot of his friends to come over from Shillong to support him in Imphal.