The pugilist was introduced to the ‘real’ sport only when he joined the army and it was nothing like what he envisaged growing up.
For the better part of his life, Indian boxer Satish Kumar knew nothing about the sport he would eventually embark on to make his career.
Like thousands of kids growing up in the early noughties, the superheavyweight was a fan of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and he recently shared an amusing story of how a myth was shattered for him as a 19-year-old.
“I heard about boxing for the first time in 2008. Otherwise, I used to think that WWE is boxing,” he told the Indo-Asian News Service agency. “I knew Undertaker and John Cena but not real boxing.”
The Indian boxer was always a sport-inclined kid, dabbling in cricket and hockey in his formative years, but never seriously considered taking anything up and he credits the army for his current status.
“If it wasn’t for the army, I don’t think I would be where I am now. I come from a place where not many set goals for themselves early in life but after I joined the army, I got the direction,” he added.
Satish Kumar created early waves, winning a medal in his national championship debut and he lists two of Indian boxing’s finest as the ones he looks up to.
“I’d say Vijender Singh and Vikas Krishan are my favourite boxers,” he revealed to the Olympic Channel. “Vijender is very technical while Vikas can box anyway he wants to; he can dominate opponents and is adept at the ring.”
The Indian boxer made history at the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers in March as he became the nation’s first Olympic representative in the super heavyweight category.
It was an honour he could have had at Rio 2016, only eight years after being introduced to the sport, but for a cut on his eyebrow that prevented him from sealing his place.