Mohammad Hussamuddin need not look beyond his family for guidance in boxing. His father is a boxing coach and four of the six brothers have donned the gloves. It was thus no surprise that Hussamuddin became a boxer, emerging the most successful one in the family at that.
One of India’s top boxers, the 28-year-old found fresh momentum in 2022, winning the 57kg bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and in the Asian Championships.
After a successful 2018-19, he was a strong contender to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics but could not make it. Before the first qualifiers, he lost in the domestic trials to Gaurav Solanki, and the second Olympic qualifier never happened because of Covid. No Indian boxer qualified in 57kg category despite a strong line-up at domestic level.
Having shrugged off the disappointment and made a strong comeback, Hussamuddin is again nursing the dream to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics. His quest begins at the ongoing National Championships in Hisar, Haryana.
“My goal is to win the national title and become India No 1 in the category. That will help me get more opportunities next year and prepare for the Asian Games, which is a qualifier for Paris.”
“It has been a good year (2022) for me. I have got some good wins and the medals at CWG and Asian Championships have boosted my confidence. But it will come to nothing If I am not able to make it to the Olympics this time. I’ve been working hard so long only to represent India at the Olympics and I want to give it my best shot.”
In that respect, CWG was an important destination though an injury almost dashed his hopes. Three weeks before Birmingham, he suffered a ligament tear in his left thumb during the selection trials.
“There was not much time to recover fully. The team doctor and physio did a great job. In the first two bouts I was in fact mostly fighting with one hand. I was in pain and sometimes the area was getting hit. I was in two minds going for my attacks.
“But gradually it got better and I was more confident in the quarter-finals. It was a difficult bout and I am happy I won it despite the struggle with injury.”
He defeated Tryagain Ndevelo of Namibia in a close battle before losing to Joseph Commey of Ghana in another tough fight in the semis.
Hussamuddin says he learns with every loss and moves on. He also won the National Games title beating two top boxers in his category—Rohit Mor who beat him in the previous Nationals and world youth champion Sachin Siwach.
“I never give up. I lost to Mor last time and worked on my game. I have improved my footwork and developed my in-and-out game. Every loss motivates me to do better.”
When he feels down after defeats become sore, his boxing family lifts him. Not being able to make it to the team for Olympic qualifiers in 2020 was one of his lowest point. His father and coach Md Shamsuddin and his brothers got him back to track.
“My father is a coach, three of my brothers have competed internationally. One brother is coach with Railways. They have all pinned their hopes on me and do not let me feel low. They guide me, support me and keep telling me that ‘you have come so far in your journey that a few more steps will get you to achieve your dream’.”