On Friday, Parveen Hooda added another feather to her cap by winning gold at the ASBC Asian Elite Boxing Championships in Amman, Jordan. The 22-year-old, who was also making her first Asian Championships final appearance, beat Japan’s Kito Mai in the women’s 63kg final with a 5-0 unanimous decision victory.
The 2022 World Championship bronze medalist has had an incredible campaign at the tournament. She continued her streak of dominance by recording a comprehensive 5-0 triumph over Thailand’s Panpatchara Somnuek in the quarter-finals, before leading her semi-final against Uranbileg Shinetsetseg of Mongolia.
After her golden run in Jordan, she spoke to Scroll.insaying, “I feel good because I’ve worked very hard and then seeing the result is satisfying.”
Moments before her hand was raised in the final, it almost looked like Parveen wanted to pace but couldn’t, as she stood beside the referee, waiting for her hand to be raised. There was a hint of nervousness but in the back of her mind she knew she had become a champion.
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“I had won both one-sided runs but the pressure of a final and the feeling before being proclaimed champion can only make you nervous. I kept thinking, ‘What if his hand was up at the place ?!’ (laughs) In boxing, you can never be sure, you know,” she recalls when she was announced the Asian champion.
Even before the final, she seemed to be the gold standard as soon as she took the decisive victory over Shinetsetseg in the semi-finals. However, despite a tough draw, she trusted her hard work and preparation and it showed in this fight.
Dissecting her performance there, she said: “The semi-finalist was a tough opponent because she is very experienced and she had a few professional fights as well. I was a little nervous, honestly, but we also perform better under pressure.
She added: “I was watching her fights in the tournament earlier and I must have watched them at least ten times. After that, I fully understood her game and the tactics I have to use against her. There was also a two to three days gap for my final, so I watched it often and visualized how it would hit me. In the ring, the same thing happened next and so I was able to play very easily. Everything what I had planned, I was executing and I think that’s why this fight went so well.
Parveen had quietly risen through the ranks, but it was World Championship bronze that really made her one of India’s female boxers to watch. However, she was disappointed soon after when she failed to qualify for the Commonwealth Games team, losing to eventual bronze medalist Jasmine Lomboria at the national trials. Sure, she thought she could win back-to-back medals, but it was a setback that put her back on track.
“You know, the eventual champion (Amy Broadhurst, at the CWG) was the same boxer that I lost to Worlds by a 4:1 split decision. So I kept thinking that I would have definitely beaten her this times and I would have become a Commonwealth Games champion.
She added, “But honestly, I hadn’t prepared very well for the CWG tryouts. I had come back from Worlds and had a fever for 10-15 days and the preparation just wasn’t good enough. But I think it’s good that I got a medal (at the World Championships) and then immediately a crease down. It’s pretty important too. So I worked harder for this tournament and won the gold medal.
However, she had the support of her family, friends and coaches who told her that she had to go on and become a champion just by becoming No. 3 at the world championships. While a decision on the weight class change has yet to be made, his immediate focus for now remains on the national championships which will likely take place in December. Next is the 2023 IBA Women’s Boxing World Championship which will be hosted by India. The boxing calendar will then prioritize the Asian Games to be held in September 2023.
Talking about how she plans to celebrate gold, Parveen said, “I had missed my favorite Diwali festival and so this time when I return home I will be celebrating a late Diwali.”