Some of these names are already regarded as greats of the game in the country.
While the history of Indian boxing is quite old, the sport came into the limelight much later in the 20th century. In the last century, It has become a very popular sport in the North and the North-Eastern parts of India and many boxers were able to grasp the fame with it.
However, since late 20th century and in the 21st century, Indian boxing have seen the emergence of many professionals who have gone to the international stage and found success.
Irrespective of time, here is a list of top five best Indian boxers who can be an inspiration for the upcoming generation of young boxers in the country.
The incredible rags to riches story of Dingko Singh inspired many boxers of the current generation to follow in his footsteps and take up boxing professionally. Born in a small village in Manipur, Dingko had a troubled childhood and he grew up in an orphanage as his parents did not have enough money to raise him. In the hostel, he got involved in a lot of fights and that sparked the hidden talent in him.
Dingko’s talent was identified by the trainers of Special Area Games, a scheme initiated by Sports Authority of India (SAI). He had the potential to make it big in his discipline as he won the Sub Junior National Boxing Championship in Ambala, Punjab at the age of 10.
After that, there was no stopping him as Dingko Singh went onto winning the King’s Cup 1997 in Bangkok and then clinching gold in the 1998 Asian Games. In the same year, he was honoured with the Arjuna Award by the government of India and also got a job in the Indian Navy for his contribution towards boxing. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2013 for achievements in the sport.
Hawa Singh was hailed as one of the greatest in his era. During his time in the ring, Hawa Singh used to dominate the Asian boxing circuit. He swept the national championships winning it 11 times in a row from 1961 to 1972. After hanging his gloves, he opened the Bhiwani Boxing Club where he nurtured young boxers.
It is understood that his Bhiwani Boxing Club was responsible for producing four out of five boxers in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, one of them being Vijender Singh. His relentless contribution in the field of Boxing was encouraged by the Government of India when he received the Arjuna award in 1966 and Dronacharya award 1999.
Hawa Singh might not be a known name in this field for the current generation but he was one of the early Indian boxers who inspired people to take up the sport professionally.
Laishram Sarita Devi
The 2009 Arjuna Awardee, Sarita Devi started her career in the square ring in 2000 and since then she has broken several records and earned numerous accolades for India. The former World Champion and four-time Asian Champion was inspired to take up boxing by looking at the great Muhammad Ali. A mother of a six-year-old kid now, Sarita Devi has also won the silver medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
She has spent more than 15 years of her life in this field and therefore she stands as a beacon of light for other budding boxers who wants to make it big in this sport.
The poster boy of Indian boxing, Vijender Singh hails from a small village named Kaluwas in Haryana. Coming from a tough background, failure was not an option for Vijender in his early days. His hard work paid off and he became the first Indian boxer to clinch an Olympics when he won the bronze in 2008 Olympics at Beijing.
After that, his career took off as he went on winning two silver medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Singh decided to turn professional after the feat and signed a multi-year deal with Queensberry Promotions through IOS Sports and Entertainment.
The 2010 Padma Shri awardee is currently the WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight Champion. Already a legend of the game in India, Vijender Singh stands as an inspiration for hundreds of budding Indian boxers who want to make their nation proud.
Probably the biggest name in Indian boxing, Mary Kom tops this list unanimously. An example of sheer hard work and strife towards her passion buoyed her to greatness. Mary Kom’s achievements resonate that there is plenty of scope for anyone to flourish at the biggest stage even if they come from a humble background.
Mary Kom holds the current record of six-time world champion and only woman to bag a medal in each of seven World Championship triumph. Nicknamed as the Magnificent Mary, she is the first Indian woman boxer to bag a gold in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea and repeated the same feat in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Her two bronze medals in the Olympics also speak volumes about her willpower and determination. The 2003 Arjuna Awardee is often regarded as the greatest Indian boxer in our country.