India striker Jeje Lalpekhlua from Mizoram, who is known for his shooting capabilities inside the rival goalposts, was once fighting inside the ring, winning championships. Now, he does it to enhance his fitness.
“One day, my father brought home a pair of boxing gloves, and I started practising with it. Soon I took up proper coaching and started competing in local tournaments too. It’s always nice to win something. I really enjoyed boxing – I still do. This is a sport that really puts you through a lot of hard training, and you can always reap the benefits of that, even as a footballer,” Jeje Lalpekhlua, popularly known as Mizo sniper among his fans, was quoted as saying by AIFF website.
He went on to win a junior level local boxing tournament, the Hnahthial Open when he was around 10-years-old.
The 29-year-old forward who recently joined SC East Bengal, said that he used to enjoy all the sports as a youngster. “I used to play a number of sports back when I was young, and boxing was one of them, along with football and lawn tennis,” Jeje added.
While he had started off with multiple sports, Jeje soon had to make a choice and picked football as the discipline in which he would pursue a career. “I think I was good at boxing but after discussing it with my family, I chose football,” he stated.
Boxing for fitness: Jeje Lalpekhlua
The rigorous routine that boxers have to pursue is something that helps those in the sport achieve supreme levels of fitness, leading up to important matches or tournaments. However, even after he chose to pursue football on a full-time basis, Jeje has found a way to inculcate something from his past into his training.
“I generally do not get the opportunity to do any boxing training routines during a busy season. But when I come home for the off-season, I do make it a point to go to the boxing academy here I Aizawl to get back that old boxing touch,” said the two-time ISL and one-time I-League winner.
In fact, maintaining his boxing training routines during the off-season is something that has allowed Jeje to work on his core strength, something that has helped him deal with burly defenders during the season.
“Of course, a lot of upper body strength is involved in this sport, so that has helped me build my own strength. So, when big defenders try to push me around, it’s not too difficult for me to push back,” Jeje who scored 23 international goals from his 56 caps for India further added with a laugh.