Punia to be 1st Indian wrestler at NY fight night


NEW DELHI, April 27: Indian wrestling’s poster boy Bajrang Punia will soon walk the famed hallways of the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York, US.
Bajrang is the first Indian to be invited by USA Wrestling, the national governing body for the sport in the US, to participate in the “Grapple at the Garden – Beat the Streets” fight night, scheduled on May 6.
Bajrang will take on two-time US national champion Yianni Diakomihalis in the 65kg category. The Indian, who won gold in the
Asian championship recently, is world No. 1 in his weight category.
While Diakomihalis is on a 47-match unbeaten streak, Bajrang too has had a golden run. The 25-year-old has bagged eight gold medals in his last nine international tournaments, including first-place finishes at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2018 Asiad.
“Madison Square Garden is one of the biggest and most famous arenas of the world and I am very excited. This exposure will help me become a better wrestler,” Bajrang told TOI. In 2014, PM Narendra Modi addressed the Indian diaspora from the venue.
‘Can’t believe a wrestler from small village got this stage’
Bajrang said fighting at the Madison Square Garden arena will be a totally new experience.
“I still can’t believe that a wrestler from a small village in Haryana has got the opportunity to fight on such a big stage. This will be a different experience altogether. I am happy and nervous at the same time,” the 25-year -old said. (TNN)