Paresh Lal Roy, Father of Indian Boxing
Paresh Lal Roy
The Father of Indian Boxing
As one walks down the central pathway of the Bhabanipur (Bhowanipore) Cemetery in Alipur a grave marked with a pair of bright red boxing gloves is bound to attracts ones attention. It is the Grave of Paresh Lal Roy, popularly known as P L Roy, the “Father of Indian Boxing.”
P L Roy was an armature boxer and credited for popularizing the sport of Boxing among Indian youths.
Paresh Lal Roy was the third of the six children of Peary Lal Roy and Lolita Roy. Paresh Lal Roy was born in India in 1893 but his family shifted to London in 1901.
He was educated in England, where he picked up the sport of boxing. His younger brother Indra Lal Roy, popularly known as I L Roy, joined the Royal Air Force as a fighter pilot and died fighting for the British during World War I (WWI).
He picked up boxing at St. Paul’s School in London and was coached by Billy Childs. He went on to do a MA from Cambridge University and won the inter University Championship. P L Roy had the distinction of being the first Cambridge Blue from Asia.
Like his younger brother I L Roy, P L Roy joined Royal Air Force during WWI, he never qulified as a pilot but won the Royal Air Force (RAF) Boxing Competition.
He returned to India in 1920s and joined the Bengal Railway (now Eastern Railway) as a traffic superintendent and was soon sports officer of the railway board.
P L Roy took up the initiative of popularizing the sport of boxing among Indian youth. During those day boxing was popular only among the Britishers and the Anglo – Indians.
In 1928 under the initiative of P L Roy the first inter railway boxing championship was started in Kolkata (Calcutta). Also in the same year P L Roy founded the Bengal Boxing Federation.
P L Roy’s association with boxing continued well after his retirement, as he trained a generations of youth in the field of boxing. He died in 1979 at the age of 87.
Being a Bengali Christian he was laid to rest at the Bhabanipur (Bhowanipore) Cemetery in Alipur, where is red boxing glove marked grave still draws the attention of every passer by.
In 2011 Eastern Railway immortalized P L Roy by installing a marble bust of the boxer at the indoor stadium named after the legend.
The P L Roy indoor stadium is located next to the Sealdah Station inside the railway complex of Mondal Rail Probondhok Karjoloy.
The marble bust of P L Roy was unveiled on 20th May 2011 by A K Gupta, Additional General Manager, Eastern Railway.