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Dhaka Tribune

Boxing star Utshob: Mother hid shoes so that I couldn’t fight

Utshob Ahmed talked to Dhaka Tribune after winning the World Boxing Council Asia Silver Super Flyweight title as the 1st Bangladeshi Saturday night

Update : 28 May 2024, 03:51 AM

Asha Khatun's brother Jewel Ahmed Jony was a renowned national boxer who won gold medal at the 2010 South Asian Games but that could not pique her interest in the game as she wanted her son Utshob Ahmed to be anything but a fighter.

She had changed her mind long ago.

Utshob went to boxing training barefooted when he was just a kid.

As his maternal uncle Jony was a celebrated figure in the Rajshahi boxing arena, the practice venue was well familiar to Utshob, so her mother’s refusal could not stop him.

Realizing this, Asha set her son free for boxing.

At the age of seven, Utshob started training under the guidance of national boxing coach Shafiul Azam Masud, who he called mama (maternal uncle), at two boxing clubs in the city.

Utshob celebrates after beating India’s Mazhar Hussain in Saturday’s bout at the Beximco Xcel Boxing Championship 3.0 at Hotel InterContinental Dhaka Photo: Ahadul Karim Khan/Dhaka Tribune

Now 19 years old, Utshob recalled those childhood memories while talking to Dhaka Tribune after winning the World Boxing Council Asia Silver Super Flyweight title as the first Bangladeshi Saturday night.

Knocking down India’s Mazhar Hussain in just the second minute of the eight-round battle boosted his confidence to keep shining against an opponent who is 13 years older, before a wild celebration in front of the home crowd at the end marked the beginning of a new boxing era.

Asha was present among the jam-packed audience but kept her eyes off the ring and praying for the victory of her son who began showing signs of promise at different national youth amateur boxing competitions before his pro debut two years ago.

Utshob previously won medals at Bangladesh Youth Games, Bangabandhu Cup, Victory Day and Independence Day amateur boxing championships, but the latest triumph earned him unprecedented applause.

“I had never received so many messages on whatsapp, facebook and phone calls congratulating me for the WBC belt. I had won all my previous eight pro bouts but this one is really special,” said Utshob.

Having discovered the young lad’s potential in the game, Adnan Haroon, the founding chairman of Bangladesh Boxing Federation prepared Utshob for the “South Asian Pro Boxing Fight Night - The Ultimate Glory”, the first ever professional boxing tournament of the country held on May 19, 2022 in Dhaka’s Mirpur indoor stadium.

Utshob throws a punch at Mazhar Photo: Ahadul Karim Khan/Dhaka Tribune

The teenager defeated compatriot Mohammad Akash, who also hails from Rajshahi, in the four-round bout to cap off a memorable debut before going on to win the next seven pro fights as well.

For the historic belt fight, Utshob was more serious than ever.

He did not skip training during the month of fasting (Ramadan) in March-April and practised under British coach Steve Iron.

The confidence in his movements and gestures to bring down Mazhar in the title-decider was down to unwavering preparation.

“There were days when I sneaked out of the house barefooted to go for boxing as my mother used to hide my shoes so that I couldn’t fight. I never gave up, pursued my passion relentlessly and now it’s paying off,” said Utshob.

His proud mother Asha told Dhaka Tribune: “It’s just the nature of fighting I didn’t want my son to be involved with but once he set his goal, I only prayed for him to shine. I’m so pleased for what he has done for himself and the country.”

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