Indian boxers are set to put up good performances at the Asian Boxing Championships after a flight to Dubai was delayed due to some issues regarding the paperwork. The competition starts in Dubai on Monday, May 24 that is, today. India has done well in the Asian Boxing Championships in the recent past and this time, the boxers look forward to exceeding their previous records.
A total of 19 Indian boxers — nine men and 10 women — will stake their claim for the top honours, which will also come with an unprecedented bonus of prize money worth USD 400,000 this time. The Indian team set foot in Dubai on Saturday, May 22. Unfortunately Binod Tanwar, who won gold in the 49 kg category at the South Asian Games, had to be dropped from the team for being positive in the COVID Test earlier this week. Members of India's Olympic team will also compete in the event.
Preparations for this year's Olympics have been hit hard by the country's catastrophic COVID situation. "This will give us a good sign as to where we stand before the Olympics and where we need to adjust. It would be good for us that way," Indian men's boxing's High Performance Director Santiago Nieva said.
In the last edition, India performed best in the Asian Championship.And this time, the expectations are higher. Nieva further added "We always come to win. We know it will be a very tough competition with many nations featuring Olympic qualified boxers and many medal winners from the world championships. But we are confident that our team will bring home good results".
MC Mary Kom
The eyes will be on six-time world champion MC Mary Kom. So far, the Manipur boxer has won five golds in the Asian Championships.
The six-time world champion can't wait to land in Dubai for the upcoming edition, which starts on 24 May because all she wants right now is a "good slugfest". "I have been so eager to compete, there has hardly been any training because of the pandemic and I need this desperately to assess myself before the Olympics," the 38-year-old Manipuri Boxer said from Pune, where she has been training for the past few days.
In the men's division, the Indians will be eyeing Olympic-qualified boxers Amit Panghal, Ashish Kumar and Bikash Krishnan. Amit won gold in the 52 kg category for the last time. Ashish got silver in the 75 kg category. Bikash also has a record of winning medals at the Asian Championships.Special attention will also be paid to Shiva Thapa, a four-time medalist in the 64 kg category. He won gold in this event in 2013, got silver in 2018, and in the editions 2015 and 2019 won bronze.
Medal contenders in the women’s division include Simranjit Kaur (80kg), Lavlina Baragohai (69kg) and defending champion Pooja Ranio (65kg). All four boxers, including Mary Kom, are in the Indian Olympic team.
The event was to be held here in India, but was shifted to Dubai because of the COVID-19 pandemic with India retaining the co-host status. Apart from India, strong countries like Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines, Uzbekistan are in the competition.
Men: Amit Panghal (52kg), Mohammad Hussamuddin (56kg), Varinder Singh (60kg), Shiva Thapa (64kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Ashish Kumar (75kg), Sumit Sangwan (81kg), Sanjeet (91kg) and Narender (+91kg).
Women: Monika (48kg), MC Mary Kom (51kg), Sakshi (54kg), Jasmine (57kg), Simranjeet Kaur (60kg), Lalbuatsaihi (64kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Pooja Rani (75kg), Saweety (81kg) and Anupama (+81kg).
Draws for Indian Boxers (Men)
Amit Panghal vs Sultan Alnuaimi (UAE)/Enkhmanadakh Kharkhuu (Mongolia)
Mohammad Hussamuddin vs Makhmud Sabyrkhan (Kazakhstan)
Varinder Singh vs Jere Samuel Dela Cruz (Philippines)/Jeewantha Wimukthi (Sri Lanka)
Shiva Thapa vs Dmitrii Puchinn (Kazakhstan)
Vikas Krishan vs Moslem Maghsoudi (Iran)
Ashish Kumar vs Abilkhan Amankul (Kazakhstan)/Said Abass Albahrani (Kuwait)
Sumit Sangwan vs Meysam Gheshlaghi (Iran)
Sanjeet vs Jasur Qurbonov (Tajikistan)
Narender vs Kamshybek Kunkabayev (Kazakhstan)
Draws for Indian Boxers (Women)
Monika vs Alua Balkibekova (Kazakhstan)
Mary Kom vs Sumaiya Qosimova (Tajikistan)/Lutsaikhan Altantsetseg (Mongolia)
Sakshi vs Ruhafzo Haqazarova (Tajikistan)
Jasmine vs Yesugen Oyuntsetseg (Mongolia)
Simranjeet Kaur vs Raykhona Kodirova (Uzbekistan)
Lalbuatsaihi vs Noura Almutairi (Kuwait)
Lovlina Borgohain vs Navbakhor Khamidova (Uzbekistan)
Pooja Rani vs Munkhbat Myagmarjargal (Mongolia)
Saweety vs Fariza Sholtay (Kazakhstan)
Anupama vs Mokhira Abdullaeva (Uzbekistan)
Schedule and live India start times
All times are in India Standard Times (IST)
May 24, Monday - preliminaries - 7:30 PM IST
May 25, Tuesday - quarter-finals - 7:30 PM IST
May 26, Wednesday - quarter-finals - 7:30 PM IST
May 27, Thursday - semi-finals - 7:30 PM IST
May 28, Friday - semi-finals - 7:30 PM IST
May 30, Sunday - women’s finals - 7:30 PM IST
May 31, Monday - men’s finals - 7:30 PM IST
Where to watch-
Fans in India can watch the live streaming of the Asian Boxing Championships 2021 on the official AIBA Youtube Channel. Matches start at 7:30 PM IST onwards.