India’s leading men and women’s boxers are within a win of making the 2020 Olympics.
On Monday, India’s biggest medal hopes at the 2020 Olympics, Mary Kom and Amit Panghal will duke it out for victories in the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers quarter-finals in the women's flyweight (48-51kg) and men’s flyweight (48-52kg) categories respectively.
A productive Sunday saw India’s Pooja Rani, Vikas Krishan, Lovlina Borgohain, Ashish Kumar and Satish Kumar punch their Tokyo 2020 tickets, and Monday will see Indian hopes pegged in further anticipation for even more berths to be secured.
Along with Mary Kom and Amit Panghal, participating on the day will be Sakshi Chaudhary, Manish Kaushik and Simranjit Kaur.
Indian boxing legend Mary Kom didn't have too much trouble making it to the quarter-final on Saturday. Outfoxing the vastly inexperienced Tasmyn Benny of New Zealand, the Manipuri boxer won by unanimous decision.
However, her quarter-final against Philippines' Irish Magno will likely not be such a walkover.
In her preliminary bout, 2019 Southeast Asian Games silver-medallist Magno drubbed her opponent Winnie Au Yin Yin so convincingly that the referee had to halt the bout, handing the Filipino the win via stoppage time.
Like Mary Kom, Amit Panghal also has a formidable Filipino standing in his path to the 2020 Olympics, in Carlo Paalam.
A 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold-medallist, Paalam put his range and counterpunches to good use on Saturday to overhaul Ramish Rahmani of Afghanistan 5-0 in his round-of-16 bout.
Given Amit Panghal’s struggles in the second half of his round-of-16 bout that saw him stagger and even fall down on the canvas twice, it will be interesting to see how the world no. 1 fares against the more potent Paalam.
Apart from the headliners Mary Kom and Amit Panghal, there are three more Indian boxers in the running for a 2020 Olympics berth, provided they win their respective quarter-final bouts on Monday.
First, in the morning session, Sakshi Chaudhary will take on South Korea's Aeji Im in the women's featherweight category (54-57kg).
Then, Manish Kaushik will face men's lightweight (57-63kg) opponent, no. 3 seed Baatarsükhiin Chinzorig of Mongolia.
Finally, Simranjit Kaur will go up against Mongolia's Monkhor Namuun in women's lightweight (57-60kg).
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 morning session will get underway at 2:30 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.