CWG 2022: Feeling ‘robbed’ after losing in a memorable match, boxer Choudhury wonders what’s next

After nine minutes of intense toe-to-toe brawl that brought everyone inside Hall 4 of Birmingham’s National Exhibition Center to their feet and left the commentator hailing it as ‘one of the best amateur fights ever’, Ashish Kumar Chaudhry squatted. The floor of the ring slapped her in anger.

Ashish Kumar Chaudhry responds after the match. (screen grab)

The judges had awarded a light heavyweight quarterfinal match, too close for others to call it home, to house favorite Aaron Bowen. Choudhury looked in amazement as he raised his opponent’s hand.

More than 12 hours into the match, the feeling that he had been robbed did not leave him. He couldn’t sleep through the night and wondered what the future held – on the boxing and personal fronts – as he tried to cope with the pain of a defeat that felt planned.

“The way the fight went, I thought I won easily. So, it’s not a good idea to be declared the loser. I’m disappointed with the score,” Chaudhry says with a sad smile. “Maybe the umpires couldn’t see my punches.”

Scoring the match from the last round made the winner win it all. In the first round, three out of five judges felt Choudhury, the silver medalist at the Asian Championships, did better and gave it to him. The second went to the two-time champion of England by the same margin – 3-2.

This means that the boxer who wins in the last round will also secure a place in the semi-finals, thus ensuring a medal. Neither Choudary nor Bowen backed down – they threw a series of punches at each other, including a closing dash where they exchanged shots from close range despite the referee repeatedly breaking the flow.

Ultimately, the five judges awarded the round to Bowen, a result that continues to baffle Choudary. “Aisa lag raha hai woh hamara bewakoof uda rahe the ek type se…ki pehle khush kar do aur phir…(It’s like they were somehow deceiving me…make him happy first and then…) I felt it was planned, He told The Indian Express from Birmingham.

contemplates the future

Choudary, who started boxing exactly a decade ago, said he stayed up all night, worried about what was next for him. He says frankly that the medal – and the financial rewards that would follow – would have changed his life. He has already started dreaming of providing his family with a better place to stay and is thinking of “many other personal goals”.

“So how can I sleep? This was a big decision. Not only because I lost but also because of the impact it could have on my future. I was preparing for this moment. If I won a medal, my future could have been properly settled. Suddenly, everything seems to have been set.” “Stop. I have to start from scratch. All this is hard to deal with,” says Choudhury, the sole breadwinner for his family after his father died two years ago.

India’s Ashish Kumar, right, and England’s Aaron Bowen compete in the NEC (AP Photo)

The government has allocated Rs 30 lakh for the athlete who wins a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, Rs 20 lakh for silver and Rs 10 lakh for bronze.

Chaudhry, however, is expressing his frustration at the lack of support from his state of Himachal Pradesh. After winning silver at the 2019 Asian Championships – his best result yet – the boxer from Mandy says he went to the state government office with the medal and certificate. Instead, they asked me, ‘Why do you offer? It is useless because it is not in our guidelines. It’s a Himachal thing, no support here. Sometimes, I regret playing from Himachal.”

Choudary is not shy about admitting that money, other than medals, is the motivator. “Whatever you think, it is about the money for the athlete. It is the only way we can make our dreams come true. So, this medal was my last hope to help my family live a better life. “Now, I am stuck on all sides.”

The standing ovation and being a part of “one of the best amateur fights ever” isn’t much consolation.

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