NEW DELHI: In a recent report, 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.
Here it is to be noted that 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. Bajrang told TOI "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,". 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.
To be noted that 2016 Rio Olympics gold medallist Kyle Snyder and 2012 London Olympics gold medallist Jordan Burroughs - both from the United States - will also take part in the showcase event. As far as Indian sportspersons are concerned, boxer Vikas Krishan recently competed at the Madison Square Garden and won his professional bout against American Noah Kidd. Vikas turned professional last year and has stopped representing India at international amateur boxing tournaments.