Recently, the Boxing Team at Cult distributed approximately 5,000 boxing gloves to training academies across the nation. The aim was to inspire and promote budding boxers so they can pursue professional careers in the sport.
The drive was more than a passion project for our boxing team. There was also a trend that we wanted to address: Indian boxers have had limited success in the international boxing space.
India and boxing
Globally, boxing is a well-loved sport. A study found that boxing is the second most popular sport among young internet users, only next to football. This is mostly attributed to boxing’s growing popularity in the Asia Pacific region.
But does India share this enthusiasm when it comes to getting into the boxing ring?
History shows that India is no stranger to boxing. There are records of our very own variation of the sport—called mushti yuddha (war of fists)—in our ancient texts, including the Mahabharata. Cut to more recent times, there seems to be some apprehension from Indian parents to nudge their children towards boxing—or sports-related careers as a whole.
The general opinion seems to be that pursuing professional sports is risky business. Instead, children are encouraged to opt for more “stable” and “realistic” 9 to 5 jobs. So even when they aspire to take up sports at a tender age, they are asked to limit their aspirations to hobbies or small-time leagues. And with boxing being perceived as a “rough” sport, parents seem to be more doubtful.
A new hope for sports and boxing?
Here’s some good news—the landscape of sports is fast changing! With young India aspiring to become more fit, there are new job avenues being created for athletics and sports enthusiasts . Take us for example — we’ve created career opportunities for sports persons across the nation, including boxers; giving them the professional stability that they need.
And when it comes to winning in the international ring, the Indian boxing scene isn’t so bleak either! Despite the sport not being promoted in the mainstream, we’ve produced some great boxers who are breaking records and making history at the Youth World Boxing Championships.
So all’s not lost after all — but there’s definitely room to do better.
Promoting boxing from the ground up
Most national-level boxers have built their careers with very little economic and social resources at hand. They’ve given it their all to get to the top. Their stories, though, are an exception and not the rule, because an ecosystem with a lack of support does very little to encourage aspirants to pick up boxing gloves on a professional level. And that’s precisely what Cult wants to change!
We want to build a boxing environment that nurtures young talent at a grassroots level.
If there’s one thing that hinders a budding boxer’s growth, it’s the lack of guidance, training centers, and equipment locally. So our team at Cult identified boxing academies across India and distributed 200–250 gloves to each center. We covered a lot of ground too! Our drive included states and cities like Delhi, Ahmadabad, Chennai, Mysore, Kolkata, Manipur, Jharkhand, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Haryana, Punjab, and Mumbai.
To encourage young people to pick up competitive boxing, we’ve taken our drive a step further to include training children and young adults.
Here’s what Ajitkumar Futane, Cult’s Boxing Expert, had to say about cult.fit’s aspiration to promote boxing:
“In 2016, cult.fit started a fitness revolution. We also made a commitment to provide holistic fitness that will help people focus not only on their physical health, but also on their mental health. Now that cult.fit has its revolutionary presence across India, cult.fit is focused on inspiring and encouraging young boxers, at a grassroots level, to pursue their passion without any barrier in participating in the competitions.”
Our drive is just the beginning. We hope to spark inspiration and passion for the sport in these young minds, so India can produce more boxers for years to come.