Tuesday , 23 October 2018
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India’s Number 1 lightweight professional boxer is also a tea seller

Olympic bronze medallist boxer Vijender Singh is a role model, not just for budding amateur boxers, but also for those who dream of professional boxing glory.

Just few minutes away from Vijender’s house in Bhiwani, there is another professional boxing star in the making – Rajesh Kumar Kasana, popularly known as Luka in the village. Though Rajesh has already entered the professional boxing circuit, he struggles to make ends meet. His only source of income is a tea stall that he runs with his brother.

Rajesh’s daily routine is simple. He starts the tea stall at 5 am. He runs the stall till about 1 pm when his brother takes over. After lunch and some rest he heads straight for boxing practice at around 6 pm.

10 rs ki chai aur thoda khane ka saaman bechta hun. Usi se gujara kar rha hun (I sell tea for Rs. 10 and some eatables to earn my livelihood),” Rajesh told TimesofIndia.com in an exclusive interview.

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Rajesh though doesn’t mind this hectic schedule. After all he is chasing his father’s dream.

“My father wanted me to become a boxer. I want to fulfil his dreams at any cost,” Rajesh said.

Rajesh fought his first ever professional bout in 2015, when he defeated compatriot Manpreet Singh. Since then, Rajesh has fought 10 bouts, winning 9, while one ended in a draw. He is still unbeaten. He is in fact the Number 1 Lightweight professional boxer in India and is 221st in the world (WBC) professional boxing rankings in his weight category.

Outside the ring, Rajesh’s life has been a constant struggle. The 24-year-old was brought up in a nuclear family – mother, father and a sister. His father, a driver by profession, died of cancer when Rajesh was in school.

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He was forced to sell his ancestral village property to cover the medical expenses of his sister who was also diagnosed with cancer in 2011. But she couldn’t be saved. She died in 2013.

“I lost my father when I was in school. He was the backbone of our family. After his death, I left my studies and started driving. When things didn’t work out, I opened a tea stall after my friends gave me the suggestion” the boxer said.

Rajesh is getting help from his promoters – Royal Sports Promotions.

“I have fought many bouts under this banner. They have supported me financially to a great extent. From boxing gloves, to my dietary requirements, to my daily expenses, they have always been there,” the youngster said.

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Rajesh remembers the time he tried to seek Vijender Singh’s help but couldn’t get through.

“I went to meet him (Vijender) once. One of my friends encouraged me to seek his help. Vijender was busy in some tournament, so I couldn’t meet him,” the boxer said.

When Vijender won his career’s eighth professional bout at Delhi’s Thyagraj Stadium against Tanzania’s Francis Cheka in December 2016, Rajesh was also scheduled to take on Uganda’s Mubaraka Sseguya on the same day. He was fighting one of the six bouts scheduled for that day.

“I watched Vijender’s bout closely. I admire him. I was lucky to share the dais with him. I was in the lightweight category,” he said.

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Rajesh now wants to meet Vijender personally and seek his help.
“He (Vijender) is an inspiration to many. I was never in the amateur boxing circuit but I am a professional boxer. He is a veteran and my hero. I want to become like him. Whenever I meet him, I will ask him to show me the way to become a renowned professional boxer like him,” the boxer signed off.
Source : timesofindia

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