A YOUNG boxer says he feels proud to be ‘punched to the ground’ in one of his fights.
“I was defeated by one hell of a boxer eight years my senior,” said Delon Kilat whose real name is Daeloniel Mcdelon.
“It was a ‘spilt decision’ though after eight gruelling rounds of pummelling, jabbing, and walloping. The guy who beat me was terribly good — extremely professional and tough to beat. That’s why I still felt a sense of pride after he knocked me out,” added the 20-year-old from Betong, Sri Aman.
Delon’s opponent was Sunsil Siwach of India, a former Commonwealth Games gold medallist and a former amateur world champion. The bout, which took place in New Delhi, India, was part of the 4th Edition of Pro-Boxing Fight Night under Amjad Khan Boxing Promotions and affiliated to the Indian Boxing Council.
Delon said the fight was good exposure for him and although he lost, he was very happy with his performance. He felt he had won the hearts of the crowd for putting up a good fight, saying: “That’s what the fans love.”
Delon gave the event thumbs-up, saying it was well-managed. He thanked the promoter for the hospitality and conveyed his love to the people of India.
“I’m looking forward to more fights there this year and will try to get back stronger,” Delon said confidently.
He also thanked his coach-cum-manager Stephen Onn who was with him in India, for sticking with him, and acknowledged the contributions of his other coaches such as Wilbur Andogan, Joseph Harry and Helman — plus the support and encouragement from the Sarawak State Sports Council, the Sarawak Amateur Boxing Association (SABA), his family, friends and fans.
Delon said he had, since young, been excited about boxing matches shown on videos or TV programmes. From around age 10, his interest in the sport grew and even at that young age, he was already thinking of boxing big time one day.
When he got to secondary school in his hometown, he decided to join a boxing class, and was active in the sport from 2014.
Delon, who started competing in 2015, said boxing, being one of the toughest sports, is certainly not for those who are not tough, perseverant and dedicated.
He confessed there were times he felt like hanging up his gloves but then something inside told him boxing was what his ‘naughty self’ had chosen. That inner voice continued to challenge him — that if he were to give up, it only meant he had already defeated himself before defeating others.
Following his instincts, he pressed on, aspiring to turn pro when his time came.
Rules and regulations
Conceding that many people hold the view boxing is a violent sport, Delon, however, pointed out that like in any sports, boxing is also governed by rules and regulations.
“As long as the rules and regulations are strictly followed and enforced, conventional sports cannot be said to be violent or cruel,” he said, adding that, little accidents, of course, could happen and the participants may get injured.
So far, he has never been seriously hurt despite facing aggressive opponents. He said he tried to stay calm and enjoy the fight.
He idolises boxers who could keep their composure such as Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines and Mexican Oscar Valdez.
Delon now trains under the Sarawak State Sports Council (MSNS) and the Sarawak Amateur Boxing Association (SABA) and competes in amateur tournaments under both bodies.
In professional bouts, he fights in an individual capacity. Although he does not get MSNS or SABA involved here, they still give him moral support.
Delon started boxing professionally only from 2016. After SUKMA 2020, he will focus 100 per cent on professional fights.
What is the difference between fighting under MSNS or SABA and as an individual?
“If we fight under the Sports Council and the Association, we can bring glory to both of them, receive an allowance from the Council, and enjoy their facilities and support. But if we fight as an individual, we only get the flight ticket, accommodation and food, sponsored by the organiser,” he explained.
Delon has to go for medical checkup once every three months before a tournament, and every day during a tournament.
He said it was crucial for a boxer to be in the pink of health, both physically and mentally, adding: “Watching your diet is a must.”
This year, Delon will take part in more amateur bouts to gain greater experience and exposure and prepare for SUKMA 2020 in Johor. He has set his sight on winning a gold medal for Sarawak. After that, he will focus fully on his professional path and fight for a World Boxing Council (Asia) title.
Delon is happy his family has accepted boxing is a big part of his life. He is also grateful for the encouragement from his friends.
He said when he was younger, he was often bullied and when he took up boxing, some people laughed at him. None thought he would make it. But the tauntings have turned into admiration as the sceptics now say they are proud he has come this far.
He hoped to popularise boxing in Sarawak, believing that through the effort, many latent talents could be discovered.
Delon is a trainer in Rebel Fitness Studio with the nod from MSNS and SABA. He said the studio had been always very supportive of boxing, even providing training facilities and a venue for free.
Among the amateur tournaments he has participated and won medals in are the Borneo Boxing Cup 2015 (gold), the National 14-16 years Old boxing Tournament 2016 (silver), the National Youth 2016 (silver), the Sabah Mayor Cup 2016, the Johor Mayor Cup 2017 (silver), the National Golden Gloves 2017 (silver), the Malaysia Cup 2018, SUKMA Perak 2018 (silver) and the International Pesta Penang Boxing Tour (silver).
He has fought more than 50 amateur bouts, and is regarded as Sarawak’s most active boxer.
He made his professional debut in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2016, and is presently a top 10 pro in Malaysia.