Sures Gurung. Photo: Facebook/Sures Gurung
Sures Gurung. Photo: Facebook/Sures Gurung

A Nepali youngster who had been hurtling toward a life of crime in his adopted home of Hong Kong is a shining example of how he channeled his passion for street fighting into professional boxing.

Sures Gurung, 27, had been a juvenile delinquent whose life could have been totally different had it not been for a life-changing moment – when he was arrested as a 15-year-old along with four friends for fighting in public. 

Operation Breakthrough threw Gurung a lifeline. The organization, established in 1996 in Hong Kong, is a group of volunteer police officers who use sport and recreational activities to rehabilitate youngsters, boys and girls, from disadvantaged backgrounds and help give them positive reinforcement.

Thousands of young people in similar situations to Gurung have benefited from its programs aimed at preventing them from heading down the path of crime. The organization, similar to police community youth clubs around the world, has seen a 20% success rate.

Gurung, who was born to a Gurkha soldier and a Hong Kong mother in Nepal, moved to the city at the age of 10. Due to the language barrier, he had a hard time adapting to local school life and soon was led astray by other juvenile delinquents, Wen Wei Po reported.

After his arrest, he was fortunate to have been given a caution under the Police Superintendent’s Discretion Scheme. Under this scheme, a juvenile from 10 to 18 is cautioned instead of being brought before the court. The offender is placed under police supervision for two years or until they reach the age of 18, whichever is sooner. This also means that there is no criminal conviction, but police keep records of cautions. 

Gurung was then referred to the boxing club at Operation Breakthrough He told Oriental Daily that he could still remember vividly the first class, where one of the officers, who had learned of his strong interest in fighting, invited him into the ring.

Sures Gurung v Roldan Bullong

The 15-year-old believed he was good at fighting, but he had a surprise when he got knocked down quickly because he did not know how to punch properly. That defeat led him to reflect on the mistakes and bad choices he had made over the years.

Boxing training was tough, both physically and mentally because to learn the techniques youngsters had to show discipline by turning up for classes and pushing themselves to become fit. Gurung’s willpower to succeed and support from the the police volunteers, who became his role models, saw him transform his life of despair to hope.

Gurung, who is also a British citizen, said he had become a better person because of boxing. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in event management from England in 2013, he now works as a rugby coach at the Hong Kong Rugby Union.

But boxing – the sport that changed his life – is never far from the picture. After winning 25 fights in the amateur ranks, Gurung made his professional debut in a flyweight bout on December 11, 2012, as one of the undercard fights in the Road to Glory event headlined by Hong Kong’s Rex Tso Sing-yu. And like his good friend, Tso, Gurung won that night, beating his opponent Roldan Bullong from the Philippines.

And Gurung has never forgotten where it all began, returning to help juvenile delinquents at Operation Breakthrough, showing them that one always has a choice in life to make a difference.