Chennai’s Mike Tyson, boxer Priyakumar, looks for sponsors

Chennai: A leap to get into national amateur boxing still eludes M Priyakumar, a 24-year-old boxer from Model Line, Old Washermenpet. Hailing from a humble background, Priyakumar alias Godwin still struggles in his boxing career without sponsors even after winning many trophies in his career so far.

“He is inspired by Mike Tyson and also got a nickname, South Indian Tyson. Seeing his performance in 2012 in the knockout of the nationals organised by SDFI (Sports Department Federation of India), this name became popular,” says his younger brother, Joel.

Currently working as a physical education assistant at a school in the rural area to make ends meet, Priyakumar still hopes that he can make it big one day. In this interview to News Today, Priyakumar talks about his career, struggles and dreams.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: Why did you choose boxing and when did you start?

A: From my childhood, I have seen a lot of boxing matches that happened in our area, with my uncle. The on-stage performance of fighters, their style, and achievements triggered a spark in me to be a professional boxer. So, I started my career at the age of 12.

Q: What are your achievements so far?

A: I have won six gold in district-level light weight category, Three gold in State-level sub-junior category, two gold in national under-14 category, 3 silvers in national sub-junior category and also took one month training in Asian and Olympic Indian camp at 2015.

Q: Who is your biggest inspiration?

A: My uncle is my biggest inspiration. He’s a good boxer and my trainer from childhood. His support made me tackle hard times and challenges on stage and in life. If I win a championship, the whole credit goes to him.

Q: What is your daily training routine?

A: Normally, I practise daily once or twice (6 hours) a day and when competition nears, I practise thrice (9 hours) per day.

Q: What are the hurdles you faced?

A: Every boxer needs a professional trainer to upgrade his skills and a place for training with good equipment. This may not occur without support like having sponsorship and it is the biggest problem that I am still facing. I could not even afford some proteins to maintain my fitness. Also, my father is a load van driver with some health issues. He was our only source of income before I joined as a physical education trainer. To get the supplements for my training, my father would get into debt and help me participate in tournaments.

Q: Who do you want to credit for whatever you have achieved so far?

A: My dad is my first hero and he supported me for a long time without any expectations. He encourages me to dream and always says ‘You can do well’. Then uncle, who is my trainer. He also takes care of all my requirements. Finally, friends, they are always there to support and cheer for me.

Q: What’s your dream?

A: My dream is to become an amateur boxer. I have to train hard to win a national championship to become an amateur and represent India in the Olympics.

Interview by D Sundar Raj

NT Bureau