Have you had to put your dreams and passion on pause because there were other things that required your attention? If that is the case, you must know and believe that there is always a possibility to unpause and carry your passion forward. Pro boxer Rahul Ganguly’s (also known as “The Tiger”) life story is an example of that. Rahul had to leave his passion for boxing because he had to fulfill some family responsibilities. But he took the step to restart his boxing career and is now rising through the ranks. He has been named Delhi’s ‘Best Boxer’ twice, is a seven-time Delhi state champion, and a two-time national champion.
In a conversation with SocialBoat, he talks about his amateur career, his comeback, his goals for the future, and gives us a sneak peek into his everyday life as a boxer. Read on for interesting anecdotes from his life, inside and outside the ring.
Swimming Towards Boxing
When Rahul was in the 7th grade, his parents signed him up for swimming classes. He did well in the field and even competed at the state level even though he didn’t enjoy it much. When one of his friends casually took him to free boxing classes, he developed a great interest in the sport. For six months Rahul lied to his parents about going to swimming class and went to boxing class instead. One day when he got the opportunity to play a state-level match, he had to finally tell them because the school had to be informed. Initially, his parents weren’t pleased because of the dangers that come with combat sports, but when they saw him playing in the ring, a wave of pride swept them into recognizing their son’s talent and skill.
Hanging the Gloves and Wearing them Again
At the onset of adulthood at 18, Rahul had a lot of family responsibilities to be fulfilled. He left boxing and took up a job in the corporate sector.
“Doing both together would be an injustice to my sport.”
While working, Rahul would often look back at his amateur career that recorded 76 wins and 4 losses.
“I had been promoted as the manager but I knew that I had sports left in me.”
Finally, when he was 25-years-old in 2016, he started thinking about making a comeback. He got in touch with the federation and asked if he could get a pro license. When they approved, Rahul was all set to make a comeback. On being asked about his most memorable fight, Rahul recalls the match he played on the 5th of January 2016, marking his comeback.
“I didn't expect it to come so soon. I was thrilled.”
Challenges Post Comeback
Post the comeback too, things were difficult as Rahul was (and still is) managing both his job and his job simultaneously. Currently in Belgium, Rahul’s work begins at 2 p.m. and lasts till 11 p.m. In the middle, he takes out about three hours for training which he makes up by working in the morning.
He recalls an incident wherein he had been asked to leave his job with the assurance of a sponsorship that would pay him monthly, but it didn’t go well.
“In 2018, when I was in Gurgaon, one genuine look company came to me and wanted to sponsor me. On their assurance, I left my stable job but after some 5-6 months of paying me, they stopped.”
Disappointed, Rahul started looking for a new job, and finding one at the managerial level wasn’t easy. Even after succeeding, managing training with a new job simultaneously wasn’t smooth. Once things settled down, doing both was finally possible.
“There is still a very long way to go.”
Rahul’s post comeback record holds 3 wins, 1 loss, and 1 draw. His last match was as recent as 25th February 2022, and the next one he is preparing for is on 28th May. His team is aiming for at least 3 to 4 fights this year so that he can move up the national rankings and make up for the lost time due to the pandemic. Currently, he is ranked 26 but is aiming for the top 10.
Why Social Media Is Important?
The team is also trying to get a blue badge for his social media handles. Rahul has done a few media collaborations with brands that reached out to him through social media. He says that he has learned a lot from social media adding that
“Having a good social media presence nowadays is important. Collaborators come only if you have a great profile. They check all these analytics of genuine followers, accounts reached through posts, and interactions before finalizing.”
Rahul’s Alias Name- “The Tiger”
The story behind Rahul’s name in the boxing ring is a funny one. During his amateur career, Rahul once came across a Bengali promoter who asked him to fight in Kolkata. Rahul being a Bengali himself was given the name “The Royal Bengal Tiger.” However, this seems like a long name that wouldn't fit on his trunks, it was shortened to “The Tiger.” Interestingly, that particular fight never happened due to some glitches. But Rahul got the name with which he has stuck till now.
What goes on 10 minutes before the fight?
Rahul gives us a sneak peek into his state of mind 10 minutes before he is about to step in the ring. He tells us about the tactics that the coaches use to calm down the adrenaline gushing through the fighter’s body at that moment.
“My coaches tell me to relax, give a good show and enjoy the fight. Not to get tensed or restless, and don't lose your mind.”
However, this seems to work only one minute into the fight.
“Once the fight begins, it just gets to you.”
But the regular breaks after every round help to calm back down. Fighters are usually advised to practice regular meditation so that they have control over their nerves.
Rahul’s journey has been and still is challenging yet exciting. And, as he says, there is still a long way to go.
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