Middleweight boxer Sumit Kundu, all of 19 years, has faced some of the best in the business in about six months to emerge as one of the most promising pugilists in the country.

Teenage Army man Sumit, who claimed the National title in Vijayanagar on debut in September, is delighted to have claimed his first elite international medal, a gold, by being the 75kg champion in the recently-concluded Thailand Open event.

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“It has been a good journey so far with a lot of learning experiences. In the Belgrade World championships, which was my first elite international outing, I lost to the eventual champion (Cuban Martinez Hernandez) in the pre-quarterfinals. In the Strandja Memorial, I beat the Worlds silver medallist (Russian Dzhambulat Bizhamov) before being beaten by Olympics silver medallist (Oleksandr Khyzhniak),” Sumit told Sportstar .

“The Thailand Open was also an opportunity to learn. I beat two Kazakh boxers (Timur Nurseitov and Ayatulla Takiz) and a Thai (Peetapat Yeasungnoen) to get my first international medal.”

Sumit, hailing from Jind district of Haryana, is keen to shine at bigger events. “I am getting better with each competition. The Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games are the main competitions this year, so I am focused on them. Paris 2024 is the next target. I have to keep performing well.”

Medal contender

According to Sumit, the supportive coaches and senior boxers at the National camp also contributed to his progress.

Chief National coach Narendra Rana, who also honed Sumit’s skills at the Services camp, has high hopes from Sumit. “Sumit’s progress is impressive. He has got power and has an attacking game. He is a strong medal contender in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games and will be a good prospect for the Paris Olympics,” said Rana.

“Sumit is extremely disciplined whether it’s his training, diet or anything related to boxing. He needs to work on his defence, especially his upper body movement.”

Rana also had a word of praise for other Thailand Open medalists, including gold winners Govind Sahani (48kg), Ananta Chopade (54kg) and silver medallist Amit Panghal (52kg).