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Neeraj drawing inspiration from Indian team

By The Assam Tribune
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NEW DELHI, June 20: Neeraj Goyat will draw inspiration from India�s dominating World Cup triumph over Pakistan when he takes on Pakistani-origin British boxer Amir Khan in next month�s WBC Pearl World Championship bout in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The Indian pro-boxer, who was the WBC Asia welterweight title-holder, will take on Amir, a two-time world champion and Olympic silver-medallist, at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah on July 12.

Neeraj and Amir, who has Pakistani roots, recently had a war of words on social media after India crushed Pakistan by 89 runs in the World Cup last Sunday.

Amir had said he would avenge Pakistan�s defeat by knocking out Neeraj, who responded by saying �keep dreaming�.

�This fight has been billed as �Nation connect� and after India beat Pakistan at World Cup, Amir tweeted and I also replied. For me, India�s win over Pakistan at the World Cup will serve as an inspiration. In a way, the Indian team has started it and I will complete it on July 12,� Neeraj told PTI.

�Given the current background, there will be a bit of pressure. Of course, we both will try to ensure that we make our country proud,� he added.

The 27-year-old from Haryana said he will face the biggest test of his career on July 12.

�When I started as a professional boxer, I had this dream of taking Indian boxing to the world stage and it is coming true now. It is the first time that an Indian will fight against such a big name like Amir Khan. I want to beat him and seal India�s place on the global map,� Neeraj said.

�Now WBC belt has the picture of my country. It has my photo like the Muhammad Alis and Mike Tysons and it is a big thing for me. So it will be the biggest match not only for me but also for Indian professional boxing. If I do well, it will pave the way for other Indian boxers.�

Amir held the WBC silver welterweight title from 2014 to 2016 but his bid to become a two-weight champion fell short in his last outing against Terence Crawford in New York for the WBO welterweight title.

Neeraj, who has a record of 11 wins including two knockouts, feels he will have a psychological advantage going into the clash.

�I think I will have the advantage over Amir because I had won the same day at Canada when Amir lost in US in April. I played against a tough fighter all six rounds, so I will have that mental edge.�

When Amir clinched the Olympic medal in 2004 Athens Olympics, Neeraj hadn�t even started his boxing career.

The Indian said he has been sparring with younger boxers, to prepare for his fight with the senior pro.

�I have been watching his videos and I know his style, so I am sparring with those boxers who have a similar style. I fight the young boxers because they are more motivated,� he said.

�I used to train at Pune but now I am back at my home in Haryana. My coach Narender Rana prepares my training schedule. I spar twice a week.�

Neeraj believes sport has the power to transcend boundaries and create amity between the people of India and Pakistan. � PTI

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Neeraj drawing inspiration from Indian team

NEW DELHI, June 20: Neeraj Goyat will draw inspiration from India�s dominating World Cup triumph over Pakistan when he takes on Pakistani-origin British boxer Amir Khan in next month�s WBC Pearl World Championship bout in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The Indian pro-boxer, who was the WBC Asia welterweight title-holder, will take on Amir, a two-time world champion and Olympic silver-medallist, at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah on July 12.

Neeraj and Amir, who has Pakistani roots, recently had a war of words on social media after India crushed Pakistan by 89 runs in the World Cup last Sunday.

Amir had said he would avenge Pakistan�s defeat by knocking out Neeraj, who responded by saying �keep dreaming�.

�This fight has been billed as �Nation connect� and after India beat Pakistan at World Cup, Amir tweeted and I also replied. For me, India�s win over Pakistan at the World Cup will serve as an inspiration. In a way, the Indian team has started it and I will complete it on July 12,� Neeraj told PTI.

�Given the current background, there will be a bit of pressure. Of course, we both will try to ensure that we make our country proud,� he added.

The 27-year-old from Haryana said he will face the biggest test of his career on July 12.

�When I started as a professional boxer, I had this dream of taking Indian boxing to the world stage and it is coming true now. It is the first time that an Indian will fight against such a big name like Amir Khan. I want to beat him and seal India�s place on the global map,� Neeraj said.

�Now WBC belt has the picture of my country. It has my photo like the Muhammad Alis and Mike Tysons and it is a big thing for me. So it will be the biggest match not only for me but also for Indian professional boxing. If I do well, it will pave the way for other Indian boxers.�

Amir held the WBC silver welterweight title from 2014 to 2016 but his bid to become a two-weight champion fell short in his last outing against Terence Crawford in New York for the WBO welterweight title.

Neeraj, who has a record of 11 wins including two knockouts, feels he will have a psychological advantage going into the clash.

�I think I will have the advantage over Amir because I had won the same day at Canada when Amir lost in US in April. I played against a tough fighter all six rounds, so I will have that mental edge.�

When Amir clinched the Olympic medal in 2004 Athens Olympics, Neeraj hadn�t even started his boxing career.

The Indian said he has been sparring with younger boxers, to prepare for his fight with the senior pro.

�I have been watching his videos and I know his style, so I am sparring with those boxers who have a similar style. I fight the young boxers because they are more motivated,� he said.

�I used to train at Pune but now I am back at my home in Haryana. My coach Narender Rana prepares my training schedule. I spar twice a week.�

Neeraj believes sport has the power to transcend boundaries and create amity between the people of India and Pakistan. � PTI