London Olympic bronze medallist MC Mary Kom (51kg) and World Championships silver medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) begin their quest for a berth in the 2020 Olympics when they step into the ring for the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers in Amman, Jordan on Saturday.
Gaurav Solanki, who beat Akylbek Esenbek Uulu in the first round, will also be in action against Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov, in the men’s featherweight (52-57kg).
Amit Panghal and Gaurav Solanki will enter the ring in the morning session, while Mary Kom will be seen in action in the evening session.
Amit Panghal eyes a flying start
One of the biggest names in Indian boxing at present, Amit Panghal has the world at his feet. Currently in the midst of a purple patch in his career, the Asian Games gold medallist will be looking to kickstart his bid for a first-ever appearance at the Olympics against Mongolia’s Enkhmanadakh Kharkhuu, who got the better of Tajikistan’s Shuhrat Sabzaliev in the first round.
Amit Panghal, of course, is the top seed in his weight division and received a first-round bye. Even though the World Championships silver medallist will be favourite to win this bout, he will be wary of the threat that Enkhmanadakh Kharkhuu possesses.
The Indian pugilist has a 1-1 record against Kharkhuu and Amit Panghal will be keen to avenge his defeat against the Mongolian from their last bout when they face off in Amman.
Gaurav Solanki will look to continue dominance
Gaurav Solanki was the first Indian pugilist in action in the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers and he put on a power-packed display to pick up a unanimous decision win.
He will be going up against Mirzakhalilov Mirazizbek, who received a bye in the first round and the Indian will know that a win against the Uzbekistan boxer puts him within a victory of Olympic qualification.
Mary Kom gets her last Olympic journey underway
Indian boxing legend Mary Kom had to get past rival Nikhat Zareen to earn the right to represent India in her weight division at the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers.
The six-time world champion has been seeded second and will square off against New Zealand’s Benny Tasmyn in the first round. The only boxer in history – male or female – to win eight medals at the World Championships, this will be Mary Kom’s last shot at representing her country at the Olympics as she will no longer be of an eligible age to compete in the 2024 Olympics.
With just two wins required for her to qualify for the 2020 Olympics, Mary Kom will be determined to do everything in her power to make it to Japan in her pursuit of the highly-coveted Olympic gold, which has eluded her over the years.
Going forward at the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers
A win for Amit Panghal against Enkhmanadakh Kharkhuu will see the Indian boxer qualify for the quarter-final, where he will face either Carlo Paalam of Philippines or Afghanistan’s Ramish Rahmani for a spot in the 2020 Olympics.
If Gaurav Solanki gets the win, he will take on one of Hong Kong’s Yu Sing Tso or Tajikistan’s Sagizov Bakhtovar.
Mary Kom will go up against either Philippines’ Irish Magno or Hong Kong’s Au Yin Yin Winnie should she get the better of Benny Tasmyn.
When and where to watch the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers
You can follow all the action from the Asia/Oceania Boxing Qualification live exclusively on the Olympic Channel as well as our Facebook page. The morning session will get underway at 1:30 PM IST while 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.