By Niharika Raina
New Delhi, Oct 2 (IANS): Neeraj Goyat is a three-time World Boxing Council (WBC) Asian champion and has been a consistent name from India in the pro boxing circuit since becoming professional in 2012. Making a winning return against New Zealand's Obedi Maguchi in a pro boxing match in March 2020 after a car accident, Goyat recently won fights against Thai boxers at a pro boxing event in Thailand.
In an email interview with IANS, Neeraj speaks about his future fights, situation of pro boxing in the country and experience of training film actors.
Q. After your last fight, what are the current aspects of the game you are working on?
A. Though my defence is very good, but after that, I am unable to do the counter fast. So, I am working on that.
Q. Can you tell us about your upcoming fights?
A. Right now, I have said to my manager that I need to fight against boxers with good rankings. He is pushing for organising fights like that and also for the ones which have good purse too.
Q. Where do you see yourself in the pro boxing fight scene in India, as compared to other pro boxers in the country?
A. No professional Indian boxer has fought against tough boxers more than me or even fought for 12 rounds. I have fought against more tough boxers than even Vijender Singh. I have defeated a world champion (Xu Can) from China in his own country (in 2014). After that, I fought and defeated an Australian as well as Mexican champions, which is the toughest fight in the world.
Q. How do you see the situation of pro boxing in India?
A. As of now, there are a lot of professional boxers in India. But those boxers are not on the right track as they are playing for the purpose of building records in India. But if they want to fight against a really good boxer of a great level and fetch some good amount, then they can get fights to contest for the world title in future.
Q. What are your immediate and long-term plans in professional boxing?
A. In terms of immediate, I want to push for good fights, meaning that I want to fight against boxers with good rankings, which include a nice fight purse too. In terms of long-term plans, after I leave the sport, I want to promote Indian pro boxing well.
I also want to get good fights and good fight money for Indian professional boxers. Outside of the sport, I would also focus on acting career and along with that, want to push those boxers into movies so that the sports gets promoted more.
Q. You were in the news about using your resources to rescue stranded Indian students from Ukraine. How were you able to manage it?
A. For taking out the students, I was helped a lot by the boxing groups in Ukraine. I had created a whatsapp group in which the Ukrainian boxer, coach, promoter and match maker, all were working to rescue the Indian students.
Q. You have also trained actors like Farhan Akhtar and Ram Charan in their respective movies. Can you talk about those experiences?
A. I didn't give Farhan training, but I trained alongside him (for Toofan). I had shared the boxing ring for a lot of time in training. In terms of Ram Charan, I had given him training during RRR. I had a lot of fun with these two as both of them fell in love with boxing. You must have seen in Toofan that boxing scenes in Delhi of Farhan were fantastic. Just like that in RRR, Ram Charan prepped by sparring against a punching bag, where he really looked like a boxer. As human beings, both are very good people.
Q. Currently, what are you up to in terms of training celebrities for movies?
A. I am working on an upcoming Punjabi movie where actor Sonam Bajwa is in the lead role. I am overseeing the entire work of training as well as choreography.
Q. In your time as a professional boxer, what will be your advice to youngsters who want to take up the sport?
A. I would like to say that in professional boxing, one must not take tension of losing or winning. Try to fight against good boxers so that you get good experience and the benefits of it will come in future fights.
Q. Outside of the boxing ring, do you think a lot about the game or not?
A. Outside of the boxing ring, I spend a lot of time with my friends. Anything which happens in my personal or professional life, I can share anything and everything with my friends