Saweety Boora wins 81kg gold at Boxing Worlds
Nine years separate Saweety Boora’s two World Championships medals. The pugil had announced herself on the global stage as a 21-year-old full of promise winning the 81kg silver in Canada in 2014. Her career, then, meandered as she looked to make weight for Olympic categories before returning to the weight where she found so much success in her early years in 2021.
Since then, there has been a sustained period of success for the 30-year-old, culminating in her greatest achievement yet, the 81kg gold medal at the 2023 Women’s World Boxing Championships in New Delhi on Saturday.
Her husband, Deepak Hooda, knows the trials that a professional athlete goes through, having been the Indian kabaddi team captain himself. He tells The Indian Express what Saweety has gone through to return to a world-beating stage.
SAWEETY WINS A HORIC 🥇🥊💪
2014 : 🥈 2023 : 🥇
Incredible 😍@AjaySingh_SG l @debojo_m#itshertime #WWCHDelhi #WorldChampionship @IBA_Boxing @Media_SAI @saweetyboora pic.twitter.com/6RvYnF57uT
— Boxing Federation (@BFI_official) March 25, 2023
“She’s a very gutsy player, and her will power is her strength. I can say that I have felt that mentally, she’s stronger than me,” he said. “In the middle, her career struggled, she did not get too many opportunities but the way she has bounced back shows who she is.”
Despite representing India internationally, it still takes Deepak surprise when he sees the kind of support that both Saweety and Nitu Ghanghas received during their gold medal matches. “I get goosebumps, every time,” he said. “When I hear the national anthem. Goosebumps…”
Saweety won bronze at the Asian Boxing Championships in 2021, and followed it up with the gold in 2022. As one of the senior boxers now, Saweety has become an experienced veteran, and the maturity shows in the way she manages her bouts, and the way she has bounced back in her career.
Her heavyweight category is not an Olympic one, and with Lovlina winning at least a silver medal here, she will take the 75kg spot at the Asian Games later this year. But Deepak does not feel that Saweety has been short-changed the Boxing Federation of India (BFI). “The weight categories are a strategy of the Indian team, they form the best way to win the maximum medals, and it happens from the planning of the foreign coaches, who are experts at what they do,” he said.
Saweety celebrates after winning gold. (Express Photo Tashi Tobgyal)
Saweety and Deepak have built a presence away from sport, on social media, with the videos they make together often finding an audience on Instagram. It is a nice draction to have away from the pressures of professional sport, Deepak says, as they mentor the next generation of upcoming sportspersons in their family.
Saweety’s brother is a local cricketer, and ser is trying her hand at boxing. Deepak’s nephew is a kabaddi player himself, while his niece is a former Asian junior champion boxer. “This is all we talk about when we get together,” Deepak says. “We’re helping each other and guiding each other. And training together is particularly fun.”
Where her career goes next is unclear, with multi-sport events like the Olympics not having her weight category at all. Regardless of what the future holds, however, it is evident that it will not keep her down.