Nikhil Punde started boxing when he was working as a consultant in Washington five years ago. He claims that the sport has transformed him. “Boxing is a full body workout, it’s a mix of physical fitness and mental strength. I used to work crazy hours when I was in the US, and boxing helped me cope with the corporate world,” he testifies. With his new found love for the sport, he came to India and started a sports tech domain called Spar Up early last year. He spent time with Manoj Pingle and met local boxers to find out how the boxing scene is in India and now he has made it his life’s mission to introduce others to the benefits of boxing.
Body and mind
Boxing deals with the mind as much as the body. “Boxing has transformed me. It requires you to eat right, drink appropriate amount of water and so on, but it’s not only about the body, it also helps develop your mind,” says Punde.
He talks about how focus is key when boxers are in the ring. “This sport requires a tremendous amount of focus. You have to anticipate how your opponent will move, how will you react, and all this in a matter of a split second. There’s no time to think it out, you have to make these calculations in your mind as fast as you can. It takes a lot of mental strength to keep punching and pushing yourself to move in the ring. You need to learn and develop resilience and perseverance when you start boxing,” he adds.
When you come out of the ring after a good, high intensity fight, hormones like dopamine and and endorphins are released, which helps you relax and destress with everything else going on in your life – work pressure, heartbreak, anything. Punde shares that the sport is useful for everyone — kids, students, working professionals and retired people too.
Boxing in the corporate world
Since he finds that boxing is a great way to relieve yourself from stress, Punde plans to take the idea of boxing sessions to corporates in the country. He wants to offer boxing workshops to teach employees the basics of boxing so that he can attempt to spark their interest in the sport.
“Corporate professionals have to deal with a lot of stress. Boxing will help them deal with all of that. People tend not to recognise boxing as a sport in India, they think that it is more like just learning how to fight. It is much more than that. It’s a martial art, so much goes into preparing yourself before you get into a ring for a fight. There is a lot of thinking and strategy making involved too,” says Pune, adding, “With lower levels of stress and improved level of fitness among their employees, companies are bound to improve their productivity.”
Boxing training camps
Punde will be hosting boxing boot camps at various gyms in the city. He will be hosting the first boot camp at Multifit Gym Aundh in September. But not just that, he will also be hosting these camps and workshops at various IT companies an other corporate offices for their employees within their space. In addition to these activities to promote boxing as a sport, Punde also hosts one-day boxing workshops at various gyms to encourage people to come and try their hand at it. “To come for a workshop, you don’t need bring anything but just wear your gym clothes, a good pair of shoes, and a never-say-die spirit. We will give you a beginners kit with hand wraps and everything,” he says. “Once you come for a workshop, you can figure out for yourself if boxing is your cup of tea. If you think you can do it then you can sign up for the boot camp or other training classes. At the end of the boot camp we give all the participants certificates and do an overall review on their progress in terms of fitness, technique and so on,” says Punde.