Binnu’s boxing journey

Binnu Singh, far left, holds a photo frame of his late father Ranbir Singh and his belts with family members, wife Bafat Nur, sons, Binnu Singh Junior, Junior Binnu Singh and granddaughter Deniva Goundar, 5, at their home at Bilalevu in Navosa. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Binnu Singh is a name known to nearly everyone on the streets of Sigatoka Town.

Whether it be in the boxing ring, on the horse racing track, soccer field or farm life, the 51-year-old has made a name for himself in every field he has stepped foot into.

Now a full-time farmer, The Fiji Times sports team caught up with the four national belt holder of his time.

“I still remember when my father Ranvir Singh asked me to try boxing. I came from a boxing family but had a lot of interest in horse racing. I was a jokey from when I was 13 year old.”

Singh fought 25 professional bouts over 16 years. He held the FBC Fiji Featherweight, Lightweight, FBA Junior Lightweight and the Junior Lightweight of the South Pacific titles.

His biggest rival was Junior Farzan Ali whom he fought five times, winning two, losing two and drawing one fight.

“During our time we did not have much resources. I used to wear normal canvas in some of the title fights I fought. I used to fill empty sugar sacks with sand and sawdust to be used as punching bags.”

He added it was the passion for the sport which kept him going.

“We didn’t fight for money or anything like that. It was always for the love for boxing and I am proud to have fought some great names in the ring.”

According to Singh, the highlight of his career was being part of the main bout in a promotion in Hobart, Tasmania in 2004.

Singh lost that fight against Grant Brown on points but gained a lot of praises for going the full distance with a more experienced boxer. He last fought Saimoni Ratu in August 2005 after which he injured his shoulder in an accident. He won that fight via third round knockout.

“I injured my shoulder after I was involved in an accident in a lorry. I had to give up boxing and concentrate on my farm.”

He retired from the sport at the age of 40. Binnu has two sons, both boxers.

The elder Junior Binnu Singh is the current super flyweight title holder in Fiji and will be out to win his second title when he takes on Rahul Aron Kumar for the flyweight title.

Singh (dad) said boxing was in the blood of his sons and he was proud to see them keep the legacy going.

“When they were five to six years of age they used to get those small punching bags and gloves from town and play with them. I knew that time that they will follow my foot steps and become boxers.”

While the eldest is concentrating on his fight, the younger one is looking after the farm and after a few fights, the two brothers will switch roles.

“I’ve told my elder son to fight a few more bouts after which he will concentrate on the farm and my younger son will concentrate on boxing.”

Another interesting fact is that the trainer who trained Binnu Singh is now training his sons.

“My trainer was Ajmat Ali. He used to train me for my fights and now he trains my son. That is why when I see my son boxing I remember my days as his boxing style is similar to the one I used.

“Ajmat worked really hard to help me get the titles. Now when I see him doing the same for my son, it just feels good as time may have passed by, Ajmat’s skills and dedication towards the sport has not changed.”

Singh has advised young boxers to keep their dedication and keep working hard to get results. He said he was upset boxing nowadays had been rated by many as a sport allegedly filled with the usage of drugs.

“This didn’t use to be the case in our time and I urge those who are involved to please stop.

“Just because of a few, the whole boxing fraternity will suffer so please stop doing it and keep the sport clean.”

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