High seeds Lovlina Borgohain, Pooja Rani favourite in quarter-finals

India’s boxing contingent is staring at six possible Olympic berths getting finalized when the boxers take the ring on Sunday.

By Subhayan Dutta ·

Lovlina Borgohain, Satish Kumar and Pooja Rani will be among the six Indian boxers who will look to seal their 2020 Olympic berth on Sunday, as the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers slowly approaches its business end.

Saturday saw 2020 Olympics medal hopefuls MC Mary Kom and Amit Panghal giving steam to the six quarter-finalists, by advancing into the next round with victories in their respective categories on Saturday.

Pooja Rani, Lovlina Borgohain expected to shine

In women’s boxing, Pooja Rani will commence her Olympic qualifying campaign against Thailand’s Pornnipa Chutee in the middleweight (69-75kg) category, while the promising Lovlina Borgohain will face Uzbekistan’s Maftunakhon Melieva in the welterweight (64-69kg) category.

Pooja Rani and Lovlina Borgohain are seeded fourth and second in their middleweight and welterweight category respectively, and both will be facing unseeded opponents.

A gold medallist at the Olympic Test event that took place in October last year, Pooja Rani had a comprehensive outing in the national trials where she defeated compatriots Nupur and Indraja to have a go at the Asian qualification event.

Pornnipa Chutee is deemed to be one of the promising talents coming out of Thailand but facing Asian Championships gold medallist Pooja Rani will surely be an uphill task for the 19-year-old.  Both Pooja Rani and Pornnipa Chutee had gotten byes in their first round which makes the quarter-final clash a berth-assuring bout.

While Lovlina Borgohain got a bye in the first round of the women’s welterweight category, her opponent Maftunakhon Melieva had to beat Japan’s Kito Mai to reach the quarter-finals.

Coming to the qualification tournament as the highest-ranked Indian women boxer and the third highest in her category, Lovlina Borgohain will be the favourite to advance into the semi-finals.

Maftunakhon Melieva had announced her arrival with a sensational campaign at the Volnova Prizes Women's Tournament last year, where she had stunned ASBC Champion Nurshayeva. Hence, the Indian World Championship bronze medallist isn’t expected to have an easy run.

Satish Kumar has a hefty task at hand

Veteran Satish Kumar will be playing his first Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers match in the super heavyweight (+91kg) category on Sunday against an unseeded Daivii Otgonbayar of Mongolia. Otgonbayar was a bronze medalist at the 2015 Mongolian Boxing Championship, in a match that ensures an Olympic berth to the winner.

Daivii Otgonbayar had competed in the heavyweight category (91kg) category at the 2014 Asian Games as well, where he couldn’t go past the quarter-finals. The Mongolian, however, has bulked up for the super heavy category and is expected to pose a tough challenge for Satish Kumar.

Fourth-seeded Satish Kumar, who is also a former Commonwealth and Asian Games medallist, had gotten the better of compatriot Narender at the national trials to reach Jordan. With the super heavy (+91kg) category having only four berths for grab, the towering 6’2” army man will have to give his everything in the ring on Sunday.

Vikas Krishan will represent India in his third consecutive Olympics in Tokyo

Vikas Krishan, Sachin and Ashish Kumar seek momentum

After getting a bye in the opening round, Sachin Kumar made a brilliant start in his preferred light heavyweight (75-81 kg) category by beating Samoa’s Dee Ioapo in the round of 16.

Sachin Kumar will be facing China’s Chen Daxaing in the quarter-final on Sunday, who surprised third-seeded Erkin Adylbek Uulu of Kyrgyzstan in the last round. With as many as four berths available from the light heavyweight category, a winner in the quarter-final will be assured of a place in the 2020 Olympics.

Ashish Kumar has been domineering in the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers so far, with impressive wins against Chinese Taipei’s Chia-Wei Kan and the fourth-seeded Bekzhigit Uulu Omurbek with unanimous decisions.

He will be up against Indonesia’s Muskita Maikhel Roberrd next in the men’s middleweight (69-75kg) category. The Indonesian hasn’t faced any seeded opponent so far, in the qualifiers with Ashish Kumar being his first big challenge.

The men’s middleweight has five berths from the Asian qualification event, which means one losing quarter-finalist will also be getting an Olympic berth apart from the four semi-finalists.

Veteran Vikas Krishan will also be in action on Sunday as he seeks a 2020 Olympics berth for the third straight time. Returning from professional boxing to have one last go at the elusive Olympic medal, Vikas Krishan has been smooth so far, in his preferred welterweight (63-69kg) category.

After getting a bye in the first round, Vikas Krishan defeated Kyrgyzstan’s Nursultan Mamataly with a unanimous decision. He will next be up against third-seeded Japanese Sewonrets Quincy Mensah Okazawa in the quarter-final. The men’s welterweight category also has five berths on offer.

Going forward at the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers

Lovlina Borgohain is expected to clash with second-seeded Gu Hong of China in her semi-final match, while Pooja Rani will be fancying a bout against top-seed Li Qian in the semi-finals if they win their respective quarters.

Satish Kumar could be facing stiff competition in his next round where he might come up against top seed Bakhodir Jalolov of Uzbekistan.

Vikas Krishan could face second-seeded Ablaikhan Zhussupov of Kazakhstan in the semis if he advances, while Ashish Kumar might be one win away from finally fulfilling his wish of facing top-seeded Eumir Marcial of the Philippines in the semi-final.

When and where to watch the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers

You can follow all the action from the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers live exclusively on the Olympic Channel as well as our Facebook page. The evening session is scheduled to begin at 8:30 PM IST.

You can also follow the daily live blog in both English and Hindi on the Olympic Channel.