READY TO RUMBLE: Bigyan Nepali has made Sunraysia his home after arriving from Nepal 12 months ago and he will take to the ring in his first Australian boxing bout this weekend. Photo: PAUL MENSCH
By MITCH RODD
SPORT really is a universal language, and the art of boxing sits as one of the well-known dialects.
Boxing transcends the globe, just ask Bigyan Nepali. The 20-year-old from Lalitpur, Nepal, always wanted to become a professional pugilist. Now that he is based in Mildura, he has that chance.
After a couple of bouts in his home country, Bigyan will take on his first Australian encounter at the Boxing South Australia (BSA) State Championships this weekend.
The softly spoken Bigyan has been taken under the wings of local personal trainers Katie and Warren Sparkes, and has spent the last few months training under boxing coach Steven Ladd.
“I am passionate about boxing. I’d like to make a professional career from boxing,” he said.
FAR FROM HOME
BIGYAN has been in Australia for just over 12 months, while his family is back home in Lalitpur, which is the third largest city in Nepal after Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Lalitpur has a population of over 220,000 people and, at the time of the last census, that population lived in just over 54,000 individual homes. Lalitpur is best known for its rich cultural heritage, particularly its tradition of arts and crafts.
Bigyan is set to return home in January for his own wedding. His, however is an arranged marriage.
“I didn’t like it to start with,” he said, “but after talking to my partner I’m happy with who I will be marrying. I will come back to Australia after the wedding.”
Also back in Nepal is Bigyan’s 13-year-old brother, who traded the boxing gloves for karate.
“I taught him to box but now he is a second dan brown belt in karate,” he said.
Bigyan has been training in boxing for three years, and experienced his first bout in 2016.
“I was pretty scared before the fight and nervous in the first round but I made myself confident,” he said.
FINDING A FAMILY
FINDING Katie and Warren Sparkes, and their Sparkes Gym studio, has been worth more than just fitness to Bigyan.
Katie said it was through a chance meeting one morning that a beautiful friendship blossomed.
“Bigyan was down the river with some of his friends about 6am one morning and Warren was there training with a private client,” she said.
“He was watching the session and realised Warren knew what he was talking about when it came to coaching.
“Bigyan was too shy to approach him so one of his friends went up and got Warren’s number. They started texting from there and Bigyan came to our next boxing class.
“He got there a bit late so I put on the pads with him. That was a mistake on my part.
“I’m not sure how it happened but he just started to help take classes and help to improve people’s stances and techniques.
“His energy and his nature is beautiful, and Warren and I took to him straight away.”
Bigyan said he was frustrated when he first came to Sunraysia as “there was nothing for me to do.”
“I found Katie and ‘Wazza’ and I have really enjoyed training with them,” he said.
“I like to make them work hard with fitness, boxing form, everything. They say I’m a tough trainer,” he laughed. “Some of them pick it up quickly, some are a bit slower but they will improve with practice.
“I’ve loved coming to this gym. It has everything you need, especially for boxing.”
It hasn’t just been in the gym where the trio work together.
“We helped him to get his L-plates and getting him ready to go for his P-plates as well,” Katie said.
“He comes around all the time and just helps with cooking and cleaning and other things, even for the rest of my family.
“He thanks us all the time, but we really have to thank him. He’s invited us to his wedding in January.”
BACK IN THE RING
BOXING has always been Bigyan’s first love.
While he does have a back-up plan, currently studying Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery, he wants his future to be in the ring.
“I love boxing, I’d rather this than (being a) chef. I’d like to make a professional career from boxing,” he said.
“I train under Steven Ladd with ‘Waz’ and his son Jackson. I feel I have made pretty good improvement with my boxing.
“I’m really passionate about it.”
Bigyan returns to competition tomorrow, and it is unlikely that this is the last we will hear of the exploits of the Nepali native.