Led by MC Mary Kom and world no. 1 Amit Panghal, Indian hopes rest on these 13 pugilists.
The Indian boxing contingent, starring world no. 1 Amit Panghal (52kg) and the legendary MC Mary Kom, will be hoping to book their 2020 Olympics spots at the Asia/Oceania Olympic boxing qualifying tournament in Amman, Jordan from Tuesday, March 3.
The Indian boxers will be duking it out across 13 weight categories (eight among men and five in women) against entrants from the other nations for a total of 63 available spots, including 41 for men and 22 for women.
Of the eight men from India, most eyes will no doubt be on Amit Panghal, who made headlines in February after he was ranked world no. 1 in the 52 kg category by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Boxing Task Force, becoming only the second Indian to do so after Vijender Singh.
Now, it remains to be seen whether he can replicate Vijender Singh’s Olympic bronze-winning performance of 2008 as well.
Amit Panghal has been seeded first in the men’s flyweight (48-52kg) category and granted a first-round bye. He will advance straight to the second round, where he will face the winner of the Enkhmandakh Kharkhuu (Mongolia) vs Shuhrat Sabzaliev (Tajikistan) bout to get into the quarter-final.
In men’s featherweight (52-57kg), 2018 Commonwealth Games (CWG) gold medallist Gaurav Solanki will face Akylbek Esenbek of Kyrgyzstan in the first round on Tuesday. The winner will have to beat no. 1 seed Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov of Uzbekistan to get into the quarter-finals.
World Championship 2019 bronze medallist Manish Kaushik has been granted a bye and will fight fellow bye, Chinese Taipei’s Chu-En Lai, in the second round on Thursday evening to determine the men’s lightweight (57-63kg) quarter-finalist among them.
Also granted a bye, ‘The Indian Tank’ Vikas Krishan will see action directly on Friday, as he faces the winner of the Nursultan Mamataly (Kyrgyzstan) vs Sherali Mamadaliev (Tajikistan) first-round fight to establish who moves on to the quarters in the men’s welterweight (63-69kg) category.
Ashish Kumar will touch gloves with Chinese Taipei’s Chia-Wei Kan in the men’s middleweight (69-75kg) category in the first round, on Tuesday. A win would see Kumar square off against no. 4 seed Omurbek Bekzhigit in the second round two days later.
Sachin Kumar has been granted a bye, as has Samoa’s Dee Ioapo. The two will face off in the second round on Thursday to get into the men’s light heavyweight (75-81kg) quarter-finals.
In the men’s heavyweight (81-91kg) category, Naman Tanwar will square off against Syria’s Aldin Ghousoon on Friday evening, with the winner facing second seed, New Zealand’s David Nyika on Sunday.
Later that evening, fourth-seeded in the men’s super heavyweight (+91kg) category, 2014 Asian Games bronze-medallist Satish Kumar has been granted a bye and will fight fellow bye Otgonbayar Daivii directly in the second round.
MC Mary Kom, seeded second in the women’s flyweight (48-51kg) category, will fight New Zealand’s Tasmyn Benny in the first round, on Saturday night of the boxing Olympic qualifiers.
If MC Mary Kom wins, she will face the winner of the Winnie Au (Hong Kong) vs Irish Magno (Philippines) bout in the second round to get into the quarter-finals.
In the women’s featherweight (54-57kg), Sakshi Chaudhary has been granted a bye and will square off against fellow bye, fourth-seeded Thai pugilist Nilawan Techasuep on Wednesday morning to determine who gets into the quarters.
Also on the same evening, Simranjit Kaur will face Kazakhstan’s Rimma Volossenko to decide who gets to fight second-seeded Namuun Monkhor of Mongolia to get into the women’s lightweight (57-60kg) quarter-finals.
In the women’s welterweight (64-69kg), second seed Lovlina Borgohain has been granted a bye and will advance straight to the quarter-finalist-determining bout on Sunday evening, where the two-time World Championship bronze medallist will face the winner of the Mai Kito (Japan) vs Maftunakhon Melieva (Uzbekistan) duel.
Finally, in the women’s middleweight (69-75kg) category, fourth seed Pooja Rani, who had bagged a gold medal in the ‘Ready Steady Go’ Olympic Test Event in Tokyo last October, will face fellow bye, Thailand’s Pornnipa Chutee, on Sunday morning to determine the quarter-finalist.
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 IST.