Gaurav Bidhuri, an Int’l Boxer Who Keeps his Dad’s Dreams Alive
He has been training in the sport since 2005, and is the fourth Indian to secure a medal at the World Championships.
Much like Mahavir Phogat, former national boxing champion Dharmendra Bidhuri harboured big dreams – he wanted to earn a gold medal at the World Championships and the Olympics. An early marriage, however, saw him bow out of the sport, but his son hopes to keep his dream alive.
Gaurav Bidhuri, the man who’s caught the fancy of most at the World Championships held at Hamburg in Germany, began training in the sport in 2005, under the tutelage of his father. Hailing from Madanpur Khadar Village in New Delhi, he started training at the Bidhuri Boxing Club at the age of ten.
Fourth Indian to Secure a Medal
When Dharmendra Bidhuri took part in his first nationals in 1988, he was vehement on making it to the Olympics. 29 years later, his son is now the fourth Indian to have a medal to his credit in the World Boxing Championships.
Gaurav entered the Championships through a wild-card entry in the 56-kg category in July 2017, when Bhutan was denied its slot at the tournament. The eight Indian to qualify for the Championships this year, Gaurav had lost his chance at a direct entry to the world showpiece, when he lost to Japan’s Ryomkei Tanaka in the box-offs during the Asian Championships in Tashkent.
From then on, there has been no stopping this young boxer, who has rapidly made his way through the rungs at the tournament. On Tuesday, the Delhi-based boxer defeated Tunisia’s Bilel Mhamdi in the quarter-finals to book a place for him in the semi-finals.
The Curse of the Quarter-Finals
The Delhi boxer has never been among the most talked about in the Indian circuit, and has been prone to making quarter-final exits in almost every tournament he was picked for. But Tuesday’s win against Mhamdi has cemented Gaurav’s confidence in himself.
Speaking to Times of India post his win, he said,
Quarter-finals have always been a hurdle for me. Earlier, I have lost in major events at the quarter-final stage, just one stage before the medal rounds. It’s great to get over the mental block and now I feel I can aim for more.
Dad’s the Man
And now, Gaurav might become the first Indian boxer to win a medal better than bronze at the prestigious championships, should he go on to win his semi-final on Thursday.
Ahead of the semi-final against America’s Duke Ragan, Gaurav told TOI,
It’s a proud moment for my country, my family and my dad. I want to dedicate this medal to my dad. I started training with my father back in 2005.
Adding that his father is not prepared to settle for a bronze, Gaurav recalls the times his father would call him ‘world champion’. “I want to make his words come true. I would love to create history for India and come home as a champion”, he told TOI.
A boxer of international cadre, Gaurav has been ranked 7 in the world boxing series in 2015. He has represented India in camps held in Serbia, Bulgaria, Cuba and Kazakhstan. In 2013, he secured the second place in the World Championship trials, and was selected by the Italian National Boxing team for the upcoming World Series of Boxing in 2014-2015.
In the Qatar International Boxing Championships 2015-2016, he made India proud by winning the silver medal. The most recent addition to his tally was the gold medal he won at the Grand Prix Usti Nad Labem in the Czhech Republic last month.
And now with the semi-final match against 19-year-old Ragan slated for Thursday night, Gaurav aims to reach heights never touched by another Indian before.
(with inputs from PTI and Times of India)
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