Patience and Perseverance: Ritesh Paswan
The COVID-19 pandemic that began in 2019 affected many sports and athletes. Many different sports had to come to a standstill when the world got shut down. One of these sports is MMA, and one of the young athletes affected by this pandemic is Ritesh Paswan.
Hailing from Guwahati, Assam, he’s one of the bright prospects coming out of the northeastern region of India. He represented Dojang MMA gym in the recently concluded AIMMAA event and secured gold in the pro bantamweight tournament
His journey in combat sports began in 2009 with Kung Fu. He also dabbled with Wushu and Kickboxing where he won medals in both sports. In 2014, he became fascinated with MMA after seeing Bhabajeet Choudhury fight in the SFL. From that point he started training in MMA and currently trains in Dojang MMA and fitness gym under Manas Daimary. In the regional combat sports scene, he’s a veteran of more than a 100 fights in both amateur and pro. His amateur record is 15-5, and pro record is 2-0.
His last pro bout was in 2019, and he had to take a little break from the sport because of the pandemic. He resumed training again this year and like a duck to water, it didn’t take long for him to find his feet back in the cage.
Alongside practicing MMA, he’s also a small business owner. He juggles his time between training and work every day. In his free time he loves going on treks and watching South Indian movies, and his dreams are simple, to represent Assam and India. In the recent AIMMAA event, he also undertook the task of being his teammates’ cornerman because of his experience. With his help, one of his teammates, Manish Mahanta secured a contract with MFN.
He’s born and bred in Assam through and through and has never trained outside the state. He has future plans to train in an international gym, but before that he wishes to improve his skill set. Coming after a brief layoff, he’s patient with his career and wishes only to sharpen his skills before he fights again. The message for his fellow youth is simple and relevant. Focus on what you want to do and stay away from bad habits and drugs.
A familiar yet different road:
There are plenty of fighters like Ritesh who have been affected by the pandemic, and it has not been easy for them. While there is a growing craze for the sport as it’s growing, yet most who fight at lower levels remain in obscurity. For those who make the sport as a means to earn, to even put two square meals together is difficult. It’s a physical battle inside the cage and a mental one outside of it.
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