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This pugilist from a fishing family is determined to punch above her weight

Feisty pugilist Thulasi E, born to a fishing family in Chennai, braved the odds to follow her passion for boxing. From selling pizzas, driving an auto-rickshaw to working in petrol bunks, she’s punched her way to the top and is now looking to compete at an international tournament. The young woman’s goal is to win an Olympic medal.

This pugilist from a fishing family is determined to punch above her weight
Thulasi preparing for a practice session


Life has never been easy, conceded the former number third ranked boxer, who stepped into the ring at the age of 12, after watching her elder sister Saraswati fight it out. “Though my sister lost that match, I enjoyed the game and from that point on, boxing became my life,” said Thulasi, adding that she worked hard to make her way to the top. A family fracas resulted in the boxer leaving her loved ones, working odd jobs to eke out a living, while practicing boxing events, which eventually saw her winning matches. Her first victory came at the Indian International Boxing Championship XXIII at New Delhi YMCA, announcing her arrival on the scene. Recalling her halcyon days, she said, “I knew I was talented and I trained hard to rise to the number three position, even beating boxing champion Mary Kom. But there was no encouragement from the State Boxing Association and hardly any opportunities to further my career.” 

A dispute with the association and financial constraints ended her dream run in 2011. That was until she decided to participate in the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) category this year. For six years, Thulasi was working as a freelance fitness trainer, while awaiting a chance to get back into the ring. “My dream has always been to represent India and win an Olympic medal. There were times when I felt let down, despite being talented. But, I still believed that I would get back into the ring. My coaches Sathya and Prithvi helped me immensely, after I got a call from the Karnataka Boxing Association to train for an international tournament,” said the pugilist, who is currently at a training camp in Delhi. The 29-year-old is doggedly determined to do everything in her power to make her dreams come true. She is currently raising funds to sponsor her upcoming tournaments. Thulasi considers legendary boxer Muhammad Ali as her inspiration. “I learnt my boxing by watching him. From my footwork to my technique, I’ve imbibed it all from him. Through my tough times, watching him gave me the inspiration to continue my fight,” she signed off.

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