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‘To put a smile on my daughter’s face’: Boxer beats addiction, mental health issues to win debut bout in Australia

Sonu Boxer with his daughters (L); and after winning his debut boxing match (R). Source: Supplied

A boxer has made a remarkable recovery from the depths of depression and alcohol addiction to win his debut professional boxing match held at Toowoomba in regional Queensland.

Gold Coast-based Gurjaswinder Singh aka Sonu Boxer walked on a long road to redemption before ‘finally’ making his comeback to the boxing ring.  

He recently won his debut professional boxing match "Locked Down Lights Up” in the 81 kg weight category by defeating his opponents in just two rounds on 11 July at Toowoomba.


Highlights:

  • A boxer recovered from mental health issues to win his debut match
  • Sonu Boxer moved to Australia from India in 2012 but couldn’t continue boxing
  • He reduced his body weight from 116 kg to 81 kg in just six months
  • His coach trained him in parks across Gold Coast and Brisbane during COVID-19 times

Mr Singh said he had a long struggle with mental health issues and alcohol addiction. 

Sonu Boxer
Supplied

Speaking to SBS Punjabi he said, “I feel like I’ve climbed out of a black hole. My life was filled with misery and uncertainty and there was nothing to aspire to. I got into some really bad habits which were severely affecting me and my family.”

“But thankfully, I have sprung back to life with my family’s unconditional support. I will always remember the sacrifices made by my wife, parents, and my brother Jugandeep Jawaharwala.”

Mr Singh who claims to have enjoyed a ‘decorated’ boxing career back in India, began his journey as a boxer in 1998 when he was just 13 years of age.

“I have won many medals at All India Intervarsity competitions and also represented India at the International Boxing Championship held at Germany in 2004,” he said. 

Gurjaswinder Singh with his mother and wife.
Gurjaswinder Singh with his mother and wife.
Supplied

Mr Singh moved to Australia in 2012 but struggled to continue with his passion for boxing.

He said his daughters inspired him to rekindle his dream.

“My biggest inspiration is my family. I wanted to put a smile on my daughter’s face who wanted me to join back my dream game – boxing,” he said.

The turning point came when his daughter said to him, “Daddy, you lie… you’re a fake boxer. You have no stamina and you can’t even beat me in a race.”

Mr Singh said he weighed 116 kg when he joined Fortitude Boxing Gym, Brisbane in November 2019.

“It is always tough when you’re completely derailed in your life. I had to put in a lot of hard work to shed at least 35 kg and brought my body weight down to 81 kg,” he added. 

Gurjaswinder Singh lost 35 kg weight in just six months.
Gurjaswinder Singh lost 35 kg weight in just six months.

Mr Singh said he started feeling ‘fitter and sharper’ within a few months of starting with his training schedule.

“It was a great feeling. But at first, it all seemed quite impossible,” he said.

“There were days when I felt it was beyond me, however, my coach and other support staff encouraged me to keep going.”

Mr Singh had to frequently commute between Gold Coast and Brisbane to continue with his training at a boxing gym located at the Fortitude Valley in Brisbane.

“I had to take extra fitness classes to make up for the lack of physical fitness in the previous years,” he said. 

Gurjaswinder Singh after winning his debut boxing match in Australia.
Gurjaswinder Singh after winning his debut boxing match in Australia.
Supplied

The training never stopped- it was adjusted during COVID-19 times, as his Coach Luke Meldon made him train in parks across Gold Coast and Brisbane.

“We travelled extensively to get the sparring required to secure victory,” said Mr Meldon in a social media post.

“Watching his transformation, and the way he applied himself in preparation, are amongst my fondest memories in my career as a coach; and I’ve been lucky to have had many highlights.” 

Mr Singh said all he sees now is the opportunity and a punching bag.

“It’s my dream to be one of the top boxers in Australia. And I hope that by the end of this year, I will be able to make it to the top five boxers in Australia, in my weight category.”

Listen to Mr Singh's interview by clicking on the picture at the top.

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