It`s Bolt over Tyson or Sugar Ray for Santhosh
New Delhi: A boxer who idolises sprint king Usain Bolt instead of a Mike Tyson or a Sugar Ray Robinson, India`s lone gold-medallist at the 21st President`s Cup V Santhosh Kumar says he finds the Jamaican`s calm demeanour inspiring while competing in a violent sport.
The 20-year-old light welterweight 64kg boxer, who rose to prominence with a silver medal in the Asian Games last year, returned to the country today along with six of his teammates from an event which featured 27 countries, including powerhouses such as Russia and Kazakhstan.
"I don`t have a favourite boxer but there is one athlete who I find fascinating and inspiring, Usain Bolt. His achievements are inspiring. I even do his `bow and arrow` celebration after I win my bouts when I compete in international events," the Andhra Pradesh boxer said.
"What an athlete, I saw one of his sprints and was blown away. He is just too good," he added.
India managed a decent haul of a gold and three bronze medals -- through Gaurav Bidhuri (49kg), Lakhbir Singh (75kg) and Jasveer Ahlawat (81kg) -- in the President`s Cup that was being held for the first time after the 2004 Tsunami wrecked havoc in Indonesia.
Santhosh, a gold-medallist at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games, is on cloud nine after bagging his maiden senior international gold but the feat was not his top priority when he left for Jakarta last week.
"To be honest, I just wanted to perform well and make sure that my coaches think that I am a good boxer. I only wanted to showcase my talent and I am so happy that the good performance also got me a medal," Santhosh said.
The Army boxer, who started boxing in 2002, doesn`t have much time to celebrate his latest triumph as he would be heading for the World Military Games in Brazil on Tuesday.
"It is not at all taxing, we are used to such grind. Hopefully I can replicate this success there also. I am going to compete at these Games for the first time," Santhosh said.
At the national camp in Patiala, Santhosh mostly seeks advise of senior boxer Akhil Kumar and is glad to have won a bet with him.
"He is fantastic motivation. He never says no if you go to him for suggestion. Always ready to lend a ear. I have been requesting him to come to a local tournament in my hometown but he wasn`t agreeing. But before I left for Jakarta, he said `if you get a gold there, I will come to that tournament`. Now he will, and I am very happy," he said.
Youngest in his family, Santhosh says his mother refuses to watch him fight as she is too horrified by the prospect of her son getting hurt.
"She hates it. My mom doesn`t watch any of my bouts. She gets scared. But my other family members come and support me whenever I compete in India," he laughed.