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Mongolia's boxing hero ready for the fight



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Mongolian boxer Badar Uugan Enkhbatyn eyes second Olympic gold.

By Chris Hogg
BBC correspondent, Ulan Bator

In a city centre gym, two girls pound nine bells out of each other, to roars of approval from the crowd.

Wrestling, not boxing, is the sport most people associate with Mongolia but the latter is becoming more and more popular, thanks in part to the achievements of one man.

He is sitting in the stands, watching the bout intently. His name is Badar Uugan Enkhbatyn and at the London Olympics in two years' time he will be defending the gold medal he won in Beijing.

BADAR UUGAN ENKHBATYN - FACTS
Region: Ulan Bator, Mongolia
Born: 1985
Discipline: Boxing
Career highlights: Gold at Beijing Olympics 2008 and silver at 2007 World Championships

Just 25 years old, he is a national hero but in this sparsely populated country, he can wear his fame lightly. People do not bother him much.

So as young fans come up to ask for autographs he takes the time to chat to them with one eye watching the action going on behind them in the ring.

He trains in the same Ulan Bator sports palace gym used by the kids training after school. There is not much special treatment in evidence here.

He drives me to see where he came from - his old neighbourhood in what is still a rough suburb.

"I used to get into fights all the time," he tells me. "But then my father told me to channel that aggression into something more useful."

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Badar Uugan Enkhbatyn
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These days he owns a big apartment he shares with his wife and two young children. His gold medal is pinned on the wall, along with the plaques and trophies that tell his story.

The preparations for the next chapter are now beginning. As soon as he struck gold in Beijing he says, he started thinking about how to win the next one in London.

In fact he smiles a lot but says little. He tolerates the interest others have in his career but does not really encourage it.

I suspect he is happier to let his fists do the talking.


We will be following the progress of a selection of athletes and we would like to hear from you.

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see also
Badar Uugan set on London 2012
26 Jul 10 |  World Olympic Dreams
The heart of East London boxing
26 Jul 10 |  World Olympic Dreams
Mongolia secure first boxing gold
24 Aug 08 |  Boxing


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