Neeraj Goyat is a three-time World Boxing Council (WBC) Asian champion and has been a consistent name from India on the professional boxing circuit since turning professional in 2012.
In March 2020, he won a professional boxing match against New Zealand’s Obedi Maguchi after a car accident. Goyat recently won a professional boxing match in Thailand against Thai boxers.
In an e-mail interview with IANS, Neeraj talks about his future fights, the state of professional boxing in the country and his training experience as a film actor.
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Question. After your last fight, what are the current aspects of the game that you are working on?
A. Although my defense is very good, after that, I can’t do the counter quickly. So I’m working on it.
Q: Can you tell us about your upcoming battles?
A. Right now I told my manager that I have to fight with well-rated fighters. He tries to organize such fights and also for those who have a good wallet.
Question. Where do you see yourself in the professional boxing scene in India compared to other professional boxers in the country?
A. No Indian boxer has fought tougher fighters than me and even fought 12 rounds. I have fought tougher boxers than even Vijender Singh. I beat the world champion (Xu Kang) from China in his own country (2014). After that, I beat an Australian champion and also a Mexican, which is the toughest fight in the world.
Q: How do you see the state of professional boxing in India?
A. Now there are many professional boxers in India. But those boxers are not on the right track as they are playing for India to create records. But if they want to fight a really good top-level fighter and get paid well, then they can fight for a world title in the future.
Question. What are your near and long term plans in professional boxing?
A. From an immediate standpoint, I want to push for good fights, meaning I want to fight well-rated fighters who carry a good fight purse. In terms of long-term plans, after leaving the sport I want to promote Indian professional boxing well.
I also want to get good fights and good money for Indian professional boxers. Apart from sports, I was also focusing on my acting career and at the same time, I want to push those boxers into films so that the sport can be promoted more.
Question. You have been reporting on using your resources to rescue stranded Indian students from Ukraine. How did you manage it?
A. Boxing groups in Ukraine helped me a lot to get the students out. I created a WhatsApp group where a Ukrainian boxer, a trainer, a promoter and a matchmaker were all working to save Indian students.
Q: You have also trained actors like Farhan Akhtar and Ram Charan in your films. Can you talk about these experiences?
A. I didn’t train Farhan, but I trained with him (for Tufan). I spent a lot of time in the boxing ring. Regarding Ram Charan, I trained him during RRR. I had so much fun with these two because they both fell in love with boxing. You must have seen in Toofan, the boxing scenes in Farhan’s Delhi were legendary. So in RRR, Ram Charan prepared by sparring against a punching bag where he actually looked like a boxer. As human beings, both are very good people.
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Q: What are you currently doing when it comes to grooming celebrities for movies?
A. I am working on an upcoming Punjabi film starring actor Sonam Bajwa. I oversee all the teaching and choreography.
Q: In your time as a professional boxer, what advice would you give to young people who want to take up the sport?
A. I would like to say that in professional boxing one should not accept the tension of losing or winning. Try to fight with good fighters to gain good experience and benefit from it in future fights.
Q: Outside of the boxing ring, do you think much about the game or not?
A. Outside the boxing ring, I spend a lot of time with my friends. Whatever happens in my personal or professional life, I can share anything and everything with my friends
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