Friday’s World Championship semifinal was tricky. Saken Bibossinov was three inches taller and preferred fighting from a distance. And the southpaw Kazakh was coming into the bout with a strong win over European gold-medallist Artur Hovhannisyan.
“I remember when he moved up from the junior camp to the seniors. He was so ill-disciplined. He would come late to practice, sometimes he wouldn’t show up at all. Anyway, our contender at that time was Devendro.”
In his run-up to the semifinal, Kaushik has defeated Kyrgyzstan’s Kadyrbek Uulu Argen, Mongolian Olympian and 2018 Asian Championship silver-medallist Baatarsukh Chinzorig, Dutch Olympian and two-time European medallist Enrico Lacruz and Brazil’s Wanderson de Oliviera.
In school he wanted to change his name, but has made peace with it now. Having fought ULFA militants while posted in Assam, the ‘ghatak commando’ finds competitive boxing much easier. He even battled depression when afflicted by vitiligo. Gaurav Bhatt tells the story of the India's welterweight medal hope at World Championship.
During his 4-2 win in the final bout against national champion Jitender, Sushil's thumb entered the latter's eye. Minutes later, Jitender's arm was twisted during an exchange. Both instances left the 25-year-old writhing in pain and his coach fuming at the “rough tactics” of Sushil.
The cement pitch his father laid for him, the practice sessions with a cow dung mound as wicket-keeper, the bhujia he loved, and an academy where the dream he dreamed now sustains many. As, battling court cases and selection setbacks, Mohd Shami emerges as India’s star bowler this World Cup, The Indian Express goes back to a small UP village in search of the shy boy who once was.