Bidhuri has sights set on ‘bigger medal’ at World C’ship

Gaurav Bidhuri will face American Duke Ragan in the semifinal of the World Boxing Championship on Thursday

Gaurav Bidhuri is relieved to have broken the jinx of always succumbing in the quarterfinals.   -  Special Arrangement

Delhi boys are known for their fearlessness. Mohinder Amarnath, Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli are known for their fiery approach on cricket field.

Now, Gaurav Bidhuri, a lesser known name outside boxing circle, has shown the same brand of steely resolve to ensure a lone medal for the country in the ongoing World Boxing Championship in Hamburg.

Bidhuri, 24, became the fourth Indian male boxer – after Vijender Singh, Vikas Krishan Yadav and Shiva Thapa – to secure a Worlds medal when he defeated a higher ranked Tunisian Olympian, Bilel Mahmdi, in the quarterfinals to reach the last four in bantamweight.

Bidhuri — who, like Vikas, earned a Worlds podium finish on debut — stands out though.

In contrast to the famous three, who had made an impact even before landing medals in the Worlds, Bidhuri had nothing to show off despite being on the National scene for six years.

He had not even qualified for the World championships after losing in a box-off bout in the Asian championship in Tashkent in May. A stroke of luck graced Bidhuri, who got an entry following Bhutan’s refusal to avail its slot.

Pushed by his childhood coach and father Dharmender (a National level boxer), Bidhuri overcame loads of criticism and a spate of injuries to make little of a seven-month-old excruciating back pain and claim glory.

Bidhuri was relieved to have broken a jinx. “I was going through a terrible patch as I lost quarterfinal bouts in major events, such as the (2014) Asian Games in Korea and the (2016) Olympic qualifier in Venezuela. However, my father had immense faith in me. Happy to see him delighted,” Bidhuri told Sportstar from Hamburg.

“Now things will become better. I will go for a bigger medal,” asserted Bidhuri, who would meet American Duke Ragan in the semifinal on Thursday.

Needless to say, Dharmender was a proud dad. “Gaurav’s will power is his biggest strength. That’s why I never gave up hope.”

Well-known coach Jaydev Bist, who oversaw Bidhuri’s training at the National camp and during his preparations for semi-professional league World Series of Boxing (WSB), said the delayed success would be a blessing in disguise for the Delhi lad. “Gaurav’s rich experience and maturity, apart from his attacking style, are his assets. He was getting injuries because of reducing weight. Now he can achieve even better results,” said Bist.

Who knows, Hamburg may see the emergence of the first ever World champion from India.