Nutlai Lalbiakkima, the young boxer from Mizoram, India, stunned the reigning Olympic light flyweight (49kg) champion, Hasanboy Dusmatov, to reach the 49kg semifinals of the President’s Cup tournament in Astana, Kazakhstan. In his first meeting with Dusmatov, the young Indian defeated the Uzbekistan pugilist 4-1 to book his berth in the semis.
However, he couldn’t follow-up the high with a win in the last four stage as he lost his bout to Kazakhstan boxer Yerzhan Zhomart, the 2017 World Championships bronze medallist. Lalbiakkima comes from a very modest family. Pro boxing fights are popular among youngsters in Mizoram and Lalbiakkima was exposed to boxing for the first time in one such Pro tournament in 2009. While he currently trains under 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Suranjoy Singh in Navy Nagar, Mumbai, back in 2015 these ‘pro’ fights were what sustained Lalbiakkima as the Boxing Federation of India was in a limbo then.
In fact, Lalbiakkima had emerged as the 2015 ‘pro’ champion and once the new federation was formed, he competed and won bronze in the 2017 Nationals. He got selected at the Mizoram Regional Sports Authority Centre in 2011. The dream of becoming a wellknown boxer took shape in 2012.
“I played the 2017 Senior Nationals in Vishakhapatnam where I won a bronze. My performance was observed by the Santiago Nieva sir (federation’s high performance director) as well as Suranjoy Singh sir and then I was called to come and join the trials for Indian team in Patiala.
“And since that day, I have been working hard and only dreaming to represent India. I am thankful to God and all who have helped me in my journey so far,” an emotional Lalbiakkima said. With his win over Dustamov, Lalbiakkima has made his claim for a berth for Asian Games, which will take place in Jakarta next month.