‘The aim is to have our flag raised on the world stage’

Bangladeshi boxer Mohammad Alamin ‘The Bull’ made headlines last month when he won his match against Thai boxer Tapanut Loetsingtaworn in the Evolution Fight Series at the World Siam Stadium, in Bangkok, Thailand.

The 32-year-old is currently competing in the Super Welterweight division and is considered the best Bangladeshi boxer in his weight class. 

He took up boxing training when he was in class four in 1997 and won the bronze medal in the 64-kg category in the 2019 South Asian Games.

Here, in an exclusive interview with The Business Standard, Alamin talks in-depth about his career so far and his future plans in boxing.  

How did your boxing journey start? 

I was born in Rajshahi and that’s where I grew up. An older brother of mine used to do boxing near my house and one day he told me to come watch the boxing match. Then I went there and saw small children of my age practicing boxing and that’s when I got interested in it. One of the boxing clubs in Rajshahi is Modern Boxing Club and that’s where my boxing journey started. The founder of this club, Mr Abu Sufian Chishti, and the coach Shafiul Azam Masud, were very helpful. My coach Masud sir gave me my first boxing training.

How supportive were your family and friends in your boxing journey? How does your wife feel about your career as a boxer?

No one took it well in the beginning as boxing is not popular in Bangladesh. My family did not support me at first. Everyone was worried at home, but my wife is very supportive and wants me to be the best boxer that I can possibly be. That motivated me instead to become a bigger and better boxer.

Who are your inspirations in boxing?

Of course, my inspiration is Muhammad Ali. I also follow Mike Tyson, Roy Jones Jr., Floyd Mayweather Jr., and I also like Vasiliy Lomachenko.

What are the challenges you’d have to face?

Financial challenges have been the biggest one. Affording equipment, getting proper nutrition and training are always a challenge if you don’t have the financial support. And as I said, there are plenty of naysayers that tell me to stop boxing. But I use all of this to prove everyone wrong and become even better. 

You recently won against Thai boxer Tapanut Loetsingtaworn in the Evolution Fight Series. Is that the biggest moment in your career?

Yes, this was the biggest achievement I would say in my professional boxing career. 

Leading up to the match, did you get enough time to run a proper fight camp? Was there anything you did differently in this fight camp compared to your previous bouts?

No, I didn’t get enough time to prepare to be honest as Sura Krishna Chakma was supposed to be boxing but had to pull out at the last moment due to dengue. Training for it wasn’t easy as I don’t have a personal sponsor like Sura Krishna Chakma either. I had to spend my own money on training and there was obviously a shortage of time but I managed to cope in the end.

Your last fight at Beximco XBC Fight Night ended in a loss for you. How did you deal with that loss? How did that affect your game plan for the bout at the Evolution Fight Series?

That loss actually helped me because it showed which areas of my game I needed to work on and improve on. It helped me improve my gameplan and that paid dividends in the last fight. 

What other moments would you call your career highlights and like to cherish?

I have a lot of good moments to cherish in amateur boxing. For instance, in the amateur World Boxing Championship, I was the first Bangladeshi to participate so that was also a special moment for me. Then I also got to participate in the Commonwealth Games. I was able to win a medal in the Saff Games and that was another moment I remember fondly.

Currently, you and Sura Krishna Chakma are the two names that are prominent in the Bangladeshi boxing scene. Who do you think is the better boxer? Would you like to have a match against Sura?

Well firstly, I’m three weight categories above him. We’re the best in our weight divisions in the country. If we were maybe even one weight division apart, it would have been possible to compete with him. He’s a champion boxer, no doubt about that. We did have a match way back in 2014, as back then we were just one weight division apart, and I won then.   

As you said, there are a lot of financial challenges for boxers in Bangladesh. Has Xcel Sports Management & Promotions helped matters for you? And do you get enough support from the Bangladesh Boxing Foundation?

Mr Adnan Haroon has been working tirelessly to bring Bangladesh’s boxing up recently as the founder of Xcel Sports and also the Bangladesh Boxing Federation. But he alone cannot change everything. Others need to step up with him.

What do you think the future of boxing in Bangladesh looks like? Any up and coming boxers you would like to mention?

If things are going the way they are, with a proper aim and if sponsors are there, boxing can be taken up commercially. Then only it can grow from there. This is just the beginning. Now people can watch lots of boxing online thanks to social media. There are loads of boxers in Rajshahi, where I started training, that are on the precipice of breaking through to a bigger stage and a bigger audience, so let’s hope for the best!

What are your future plans in boxing?

I want to qualify for the World Boxing Championship (WBC) Asia and WBC soon and I’m training for that. If I can get proper sponsors for that, it will aid my training and that way, I’ll have a better chance of doing well. Long term, I want to stay involved with Bangladesh boxing, even when I retire. The aim is to hear our national anthem and our flags raised on the world stage. 

What would be your message to future aspiring boxers in Bangladesh?

Whatever you do, whatever dream you have, you have to work hard. To the upcoming boxers, you have to love the sport and have a dream to make it big. My advice to them would be to keep working hard because hard work will bear fruit, just the way we are starting to get results because of the hard work we’re putting in. 

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