A colossal name in Indian boxing despite his diminutive frame, M Suranjoy Singh is currently at a crossroads after failing to make the cut for the World Championships due to an injury-ravaged body which could not recreate the magic that gave him the nickname 'Chhota Tyson', at the just-concluded national trials here.
The 27-year-old is best remembered for winning an unprecedented seven back-to-back international gold medals, including the top honours at the Asian Championships and the Commonwealth Games, between 2009 and 2010.
But life changed drastically for him after he lost his mother in December 2010. His form dipped and the last major international event in which he made his presence felt was the 2012 World Military Games where the Manipur-lad settled for a bronze medal.
His physical breakdown started with minor niggles becoming major complications so much so that he had to go under the knife for a troubling knee, which is getting better but not yet a 100 per cent.
"Life changed completely at the end of 2010. Losing my mother was massive blow and it took me a lot of time to come to terms with it. And eventually some injuries also began to hamper me. I still don't feel fit," Suranjoy, who competed non-stop between 2009-10 in the 52kg division, told PTI in an interview.
The ever-smiling boxer was eliminated on the first day of the trials, perhaps the biggest name not to make it to the team, but setting aside the personal disappointment, he was eagerly lending a helping hand to some of his mates as a second outside the ring yesterday.
"I lost 12kg to participate in these trials. It has been just a few months since I went full throttle with my training. I thought I could do it but now I realise there are some things that I can't. My endurance doesn't seem good enough. Even though I start out well, it is not lasting the entire bout like earlier," he said.
"In fact I used to complete five rounds of running in 18 minutes flat but now I am finding it tough to do it even in 25 minutes. My body is just not holding up," he said pointing to an open track outside the boxing hall of the NIS here where he is still trying to beat the clock.
Asked what he has in mind if his endurance doesn't improve in the coming months, the Navy-employee said, " I haven't taken a call but if this is how things go, then I would rather give up."
"I had thought of quitting in March itself but had to compete in the inter-services. After that I got some motivation going and started training for these trials but it didn't quite work out.
"But I don't have any complaints from life because everything happens for a reason. I am content with all that I got and all that I did at the peak of my ability. It was the best I could have done," he added with a smile on his face.
In fact, life is not at all gloomy for the boxer at least on the personal front now given the turmoil he went through after his mother's death.
"Except for that, I have a good life. I have been blessed with a beautiful daughter. I have started my academy in Manipur and I get a lot of satisfaction by training young boys," he said.
"I am very close to boys who are coming from north-east and help them in whatever way I can in the camp, that also gives me a lot of joy. I see a lot of myself in L Devendro Singh (an Olympian besides being an Asian Championships silver-medallist) and feel good about it," he signed off.