Olympic wrestler makes the switch to boxing, but the long hours of training haven’t changed (w/video)

Published: November 19, 2013

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Richmond’s Arjan Bhullar always fights his own battles — literally.

So when the Olympic freestyle wrestler and 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medalist makes the switch from the mat to the ring in his debut boxing match Thursday, it will be no different.

“That’s the beauty of it that I like, there’s not a team there with me … it’s just you against the other man,” the 27-year-old athlete confidently told Vancouver Desi after an intense training session at the North Burnaby Boxing Club Monday night — his last session before the big match.

Freestyle wrestler Arjan Bhullar has taken up boxing with coach Manny Sobral at the North Burnaby Boxing Club. Bhullar won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth games. Ric Ernst / PNG

Bhullar has been training at the club for the past six months with International Boxing Organization champion Manny Sobral. The pair teamed up as Bhullar was winding down from the 2012 Olympics in London, where he lost on technical points to the eventual bronze medalist.

“It was an awesome experience — bittersweet, obviously, with the result,” Bhullar admit. “(But) that’s what’s driving me to reach newer heights and keep training.”

And boxing was a natural step.

“Muhammad Ali’s been my idol growing up,” said Bhullar, adding he’s always followed and loved the sport.

It also helps that boxing and wrestling are “very similar.”

“The mentality is the same to be an elite-level boxer, elite-level wrestler you have to … step into the ring with certainty,” said Bhullar. “The mindset’s really the same — the work ethic, everything.

“Hard work, long hours in the gym, a lot of sacrifices.”

For the past six months he’s been dividing his workouts between wrestling and boxing. With his new position as head coach at the University of Fraser Valley he’s been hitting the mat two to three times a week, working on cardio and weight lifting at the gym most mornings, on top of two to three training sessions with Sobral at the boxing club.

“I’ve got a full schedule just like it was before the Olympics,” said Bhullar.

His evening sessions with Sobral are spent in the dimly lit boxing club, where he trains alongside seven other amateurs also making their debut Thursday night. The training consists of a lot of drills, like sparring, shadow boxing, footwork, pads, or skipping. While the sessions only last about an hour, it’s not long before the small room heats up, the music barely audible over the heavy breaths and smack of the pads and punching bags.

“We’re trying to train all energy systems, aerobic, anaerobic — you need both,” said Sobral. “Boxing is one of those unique sports where you need both to be good at it.”
And according to Sobral, Bhullar’s dedication and training has certainly paid off.

“He’s got an incredible sense of distance, so he knows where his opponents are,” he said. “It’s the sweet science after all. (Giving) a guy fakes, making the guy feel like you’re going to the left but you go to the right, so (Bhullar’s) really good at that.”

“He’s a very deceiving boxer because he doesn’t look like a 250 lb. strong guy, but when he starts sparring with these guys, they realize very, very quickly that he’s no slouch.”

Former freestyle wrestler Arjan Bhullar has taken up boxing with coach Manny Sobral at the North Burnaby Boxing Club. Bhullar won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth games. Ric Ernst / PNG

After just six months of training, Sobral has full confidence in Bhullar’s upcoming match and can foresee the budding athlete as a MMA star in the future.

But Bhullar’s not ready to fully commit to boxing just yet — he’s waiting to see how Thursday night goes before he “(makes) the decision whether to prepare for the next Olympics or change disciplines.”

“It’s one thing in training and another thing when the lights are on,” said Bhullar.

But when asked whether he’s as confident as Sobral for his upcoming match, he responded with a definitive, “Hell yeah.”

Bhullar’s first match is part of the second annual Confratellanza Italo Canadese/NBBC A Night of Fights at the Italian Cultural Centre Thursday, where he’ll square off against opponent Ricky Keohavong for three rounds. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and tickets are $100, which includes dinner, beer and wine. To purchase tickets, email patholmes14@me.com.

lcahute@vancouverdesi.com
twitter.com/larissacahute


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,





Featured

Abbotsford

Jag Khosa: Families pay the ultimate price of gang wars

DET. JAG KHOSA SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Late into the night, the parents of a young man struggled to sleep. The mother kept tossing and…
Continue Reading »

linda-hepnerdesi

Linda Hepner, Doug McCallum top two latest Surrey civic election polls

Candidates trade lead spot in polls released this week CHRISTOPHER POON SURREY NOW SURREY — Two new polls released this week show candidates Linda Hepner…
Continue Reading »

DIWALI

Vancouver’s ‘Spice Goddess’ Bal Arneson loves celebrating Diwali with friends and family

LOIS ABRAHAM THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO – Ever since she was a little girl in India, “Spice Goddess” host Bal Arneson has loved celebrating the…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Five things to know about who receives honorary citizenship in Canada

By Stephanie Levitz THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA – Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, a co-winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, will become the sixth person…
Continue Reading »

Abbotsford

Jag Khosa: Families pay the ultimate price of gang wars

DET. JAG KHOSA SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Late into the night, the parents of a young man struggled to sleep. The mother kept tossing and…
Continue Reading »

Facebook photo showing Martin Rouleau

Canada is Losing the Values War!

UJJAL DOSANJH SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI The dreaded happened in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, a quiet historic town in Quebec. Many years ago I stayed there for a…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Facebook photo showing Martin Rouleau

Canada is Losing the Values War!

UJJAL DOSANJH SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI The dreaded happened in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, a quiet historic town in Quebec. Many years ago I stayed there for a…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver school students

Gallery: Dalai Lama in Vancouver

VANCOUVER DESI Check out photos of the Dalai Lama meeting students and some staff of John Oliver Secondary prior to attending the Heart-Mind Youth Dialogue…
Continue Reading »

INDIA-WILDLIFE-ELEPHANT

Heartbreaking photos of two elephants electrocuted in India

IANS Siliguri – Two elephants, including a female, were electrocuted in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district Saturday, an official said. The tuskers were found in a…
Continue Reading »

Aman Grewal

Gallery: Army officer’s wife wins Mrs. India Worldwide pageant

IANS New Delhi – Aman Grewal, wife of an army officer, was declared the winner of Haut.Monde Mrs.India Worldwide 2014 here. Grewal, who hails from…
Continue Reading »

varsha

Ontario teen fighting superbugs with an assist from Indian home cooking

TOM SPEARS OTTAWA CITIZEN Like a lot of great discoveries, Varsha Jayasankar’s foray into how to kill superbugs with an extract from Indian food started…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Bollywood

Saif Ali Khan poses with pants down

IANS New Delhi – Actor-producer Saif Ali Khan was caught and clicked with his pants down while shooting for his new film “Happy Ending”. As…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt says ‘Going Home’ a special short film

IANS Mumbai – If the masses loved her in movies like “Highway” and “Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania”, Alia Bhatt has again won many a heart….
Continue Reading »

Priyanka Chopra

Why is Priyanka Chopra upset?

IANS Mumbai – Actress Priyanka Chopra had to cancel her pre-Diwali plans as she is down with an eye infection. And now she is fuming….
Continue Reading »