Charanpal Singh, an 18-year-old from Birmingham, is set to make history today (1 February 2019) by becoming the first Amritdhari Sikh boxer to compete in official amateur competition in the UK, reports SikhPA.
Charanpal Singh began training in boxing 18 months ago and was soon encouraged by his coaches at Warley ABC, a well established amateur boxing club, to compete in official competition.
Although the beard ban was not going to affect the baby-faced teenager, Charanpal Singh would not compete knowing his ambitions in official amateur competition would be curtailed when his beard grew. That was until the beard ban was overturned eight months ago.
“It wasn’t something I had to think about, I wasn’t going to change myself or the principles of Sikhi by removing Kes (unshorn hair). My Kes is a part of who I am, as an Amritdhari Sikh.
‘Some boxers mentioned that my beard hasn’t fully grown, so why not just fight. I explained to them it’s not about how much beard a person has, it’s about the removal of hair , which I would never support,” he was qouted in a media statement released by UK-based SIkhPA.
“The end of the beard ban means I can add boxing to my Sikhi discipline. My Sikhi requires me to have a healthy lifestyle to be disciplined in both physical and mental wellbeing. It enables me to feel self-confident. I believe it is about self-care and compassion and promotes the importance for a Sikh being a protector of others (sant and solider). Both work together.”
In March 2018, England Boxing overturned the ban on facial hair on competitors after approximately 138 years. This finally allowed practicing Sikhs to compete in official amateur competition, and the first few will compete in February.
“England Boxing has made the decision to remove the rule at domestic level and forms part of its aims to fully embrace inclusivity in the sport,” the outfit said in a statement released at its website on 13 March.
The boxing association also said that it would to lobby International Boxing Association (AIBA), originally the Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur, to get the rule changed at an international level.
Lanky Ravinder takes boxing gold at Malaysian games (Asia Samachar, 23 Sept 2018)
England Boxing overturns beard ban (Asia Samachar, 20 March 2018)