It’s hardly 12 hours since S. Vishvanath returned from Spain to Pune, obviously he has jetlag. The 18-year-old feels sleepy but still spoke to The Hindu on winning the 48kg gold medal in the IBA World youth boxing championships in La Nucia recently. “It feels great as the event happens once every two years. I still have a long way to go. My ultimate goal is to win a medal at the Olympics though my (48 Kg) category is not in the 2024 Paris Olympics,” he said.
Son of a tailor Suresh Babu, Vishwanath has seen the tough grind of life. Suresh, a state and National-level boxer, couldn’t continue his boxing as he as the eldest sibling (three sisters and a brother), had to take care of his family.
“I wanted to pursue boxing at a higher level. Mine was a big family. My responsibilities were huge. I stopped after winning the gold in the sub-junior level,” he said.
Suresh put all his efforts in ensuring that his son reached the elite level in boxing.. Finding it difficult to arrange for the finances for coaching, Suresh decided to coach his son.
While Vishvanath did his fitness at the Corporation Ground in Perambur near his home, the techniques of the sport were taught by Suresh at their home.
Then in Std.. VII, Vishvanath tried to get into MEG Centre in Bengaluru, but couldn’t get through the selection trials. “He didn’t have the required height,” said Suresh.
It was a relief when he was picked by Army Sports Institute (ASI) in Pune in 2018, he is a Havildar now.
Vishvanath has not let down his father as he has been consistent at the International events, having won medals in Jordan, Serbia, Dubai in the last year or so.
“I am here because of my father. If not for his support I would not have become a boxer,” said Vishvanath.
The 18-year-old said no bout at the World youth championships was easy with all the five bouts being extremely tough. “Each boxer was different and difficult. Nothing was easy and every bout was a tough fight,” he said.
Suresh said Vishvanath eats, breathes and lives boxing. “Whenever we speak, it is always about boxing, top boxers in the world, their techniques. We don’t discuss films or other forms of entertainment. His basics are good thanks to ASI coaches including Vijaykumar Sharma and Kamesh and other coaches, who are dedicated. has achieved only around 50 per cent. I am sure he will win much more,” said Suresh.