I'm not done yet, says the professional boxer in promoter Neeraj Goyat

I'm not done yet, says the professional boxer in promoter Neeraj Goyat

no photo


(Neeraj Goyat/ Facebook)

While we in India do not look beyond Olympic bronze medalist Vijender Singh as the best exponent of professional boxing in the country, Karnal's Neeraj Goyat has quietly been doing his bit for the last nine-ten years in the ring, notching a few big wins throughout his career.

Back in 2014, he beat then-world champion Xu Can of China, has 17 victories to his name in his career, was the first Indian boxer to make it to the WBC rankings, and won the WBC Asia title thrice on the trot. Having faced Mexicans and the Chinese a few times in his career, he has safely been the only professional in the country to box the best in the world. 

Stepping into the ring after a gap of eight months, this March, he was up against Mexico's Jose Zepeda in a high-profile USD 120,000 fight, promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, making him one of the hot commodities in professional boxing at the moment. Notwithstanding the narrow loss, he feels he has done his bit in making his presence felt. And most importantly, he has not let himself down by playing an easy opponent and scoring a win for the sake of it.

"Right after the fight, Zepeda told me, 'You're a fighter', a few times. That maybe means something," Goyat told SportsCafe. "He was facing some issues in landing the punches, and his hands were also bruised. I think I inflicted enough damage on him in the fight. Even though I lost the match, and was not happy about it, at least I'm satisfied with the way I performed.

"There is no room for ifs and buts, but I can tell you that I won at least 3-4 rounds there. If I look back, maybe I didn't have enough time in hand to prepare, and then there was a lot of travel..this performance against such a tough opponent, I think it was all great in the end."

Last year, Neeraj had clarified that he is in the last phase of his playing career and that he would be only focussing on playing the last three-four bouts, but only against tough opponents. Only increasing the wins in his career was never his motive and is adamant about showing the professional boxing fraternity, what an Indian boxer can do.  

"Although it might be a little too early to say who is going to be my next opponent, I think with my last fight, a lot of boxers on the circuit have recognised me. I think I'm not going to rush into another fight just to get a quick, easy win, but I want to have a tough fight that will do my reputation a world of good. At least, I should be satisfied with the opponent I faced. I'm in that stage of my career where I want to have really good three-four fights. I have done one, so there are still three left," he added.

Meanwhile, the road post-retirement is also clear for Neeraj and wants to dedicate full time to VN Promotions, his own company. They have already signed a few boxers, and some of them can take on the big boys in the world as well. The 31-year-old has a lot of hopes from Sandeep Kumar in particular. "We are looking after a handful of talented boys currently. I want to be promoting good boxers and boxing in India. I have my own company, so the aim is to develop boxers there. 

"One of the boys Sandeep, who we have signed, has shown positive signs till now. But there is one amateur boxer from Punjab, Satish, who won the gold medal in the heavyweight category in the January nationals..I think he could be the one for the future. He could be one of India's first heavyweight champions, and I would like to sign him in the future."

Having moved away from amateur boxing years ago, Neeraj still keeps a tab on the latest happenings and wants the Indian boxers to do well at the 2024 Paris Olympics as well. Call it his hunch, or experience, but he feels Deepak Bhoria and Kartik only will have a shot at the medal. "Deepak Bhoria is a serious medal contender at the Olympics. And yes, then there is Kartik too in the heavyweight category who can actually win. Apart from that, I'm not really sure if anyone can go the distance. Even though I'm a professional, I follow amateur boxing keenly as well, and this is how I feel," he signed off.

Get updates! Follow us on

Open all