‘I like to be a dictator’, says boxing mentor Akhil Kumar

The Indian now takes pride in churning out competent boxers from the country.

Jitendra Kumar (left) is one of Akhil Kumar’s famous proteges.   -  PTI

India’s Akhil Kumar loves a bit of “dictatorship” while training promising boxers, an occupation he takes much interest in. He now takes pride in churning out competent boxers, admitting he has an eye for talent.

“Look at Shashi Chopra, the youth world championship medallist,” he says. “She won in Guwahati and I was there (she was recommended by Akhil).” Pointing to Olympian Jitender Kumar, one of Akhil’s most famous proteges, Akhil said, “an example is sitting right here.

“I like to be a dictator, a bit of dictatorship is needed I feel (while mentoring), but in a positive way. Two things that I look for are will power and desire. If you have them you will be focussed. I want them (the people he trains) to be obedient,” Akhil says.

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The boxing national observer, however, will have go back to his old avatar of a boxer in a tournament in New Delhi on February 10, hosted by Hope and Glory Boxing in association with WBC and Boxing Premier League.

In an attempt to bring some attention to the low profile boxers, especially the women, Hope and Glory Boxing in association with WBC and Boxing Premier League will organise a six-bout event at the NDMC Indoor Stadium, Talkatora, on February 10.

Olympian boxers like Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar apart from the WBC Asian champion Brijesh Kumar Meena are expected to feature in the event along with the ones from Philippines, Georgia, Tanzania and France.

Of the six bouts, two will be women fights. Akhil Kumar said that it was his idea to support young boxers who are deprived of basic amenities. As part of the venture, Hope and Glory Boxing will open more boxing and fitness clubs in government and private schools in Delhi and Haryana, eventually moving to the north-eastern States.                              -  Kamesh Srinivasan

Though now a mentor, Akhil has tasted success as a boxer. He made a perfect start to his professional career with a technical knock-out of Australia’s Ty Gilchrist in the junior welterweight category at the ‘Battleground Asia’ earlier this year, but fell out with the promoters for a breach in contract clause.

‘Technical boxer’

Akhil classified himself as a “technical” boxer. “I am not an aggressive boxer, the kind of image you all have created. I am a very technical boxer. You look at my footwork, my open guard, my mobility and my ring-craft. I should not be called an aggressive boxer,” he said.

Akhil was optimistic when asked about the future of the sport. “They (people running the sport) are doing pretty well, and if they are doing their job we must praise them. The federation is trying to ensure boxing is headed in the right direction. At this stage, we can certainly look ahead with hope,” he said.

About this new venture, he said, “The primary focus should be on boxing and not boxers. Being a boxer, I am aware of the challenges that young athletes encounter to pursue their dreams. Talented players are deprived of basic amenities required to nurture their career beyond their amateur days. Hope and Glory Boxing is an excellent attempt to overcome these barriers and prepare them for international pro-boxing championships under the mentorship of senior boxers.”

Besides Akhil, the brand ambassador, the event at Talkatora Stadium will feature Jitender Kumar, Brijesh Kumar Meena (WBC Asian Boxing Champion) and contestants from Philippines, Georgia, Tanzania and France in action.

There will be six bouts - four for men and two for women.