With the dust finally having settled on the MC Mary Kom vs Nikhat Zareen feud headlining the BFI women's trials, the focus shifted to the male boxers on Sunday, as they began to settle who will get to partake in the Olympic qualifiers scheduled to be held in Wuhan, China from February 3-14, 2020.
Here’s how it all went down in the first of the two-day men’s trials in Bellary, Karnataka.
Those who thrived on Sunday
Sunday’s trials for weight categories with four combatants decided who will fight it out in Monday’s finals. Among them, a face-off that everyone was looking forward to was between 57kg combatants Kavinder Singh Bisht, the 2019 Asian Amateur Boxing Championships silver medallist, and 2018 Commonwealth Games (CWG) gold medallist Gaurav Solanki.
It was Solanki who persevered on the day, beating out Singh by split decision 6-3.
The other 57kg bout — between Md Hussamudin and Sachin Siwach — went the way of 2018 CWG bronze medallist Hussamudin by split decision with an identical score, and he will face Solanki on Monday.
In 69kg, Vikas Krishnan defeated Railway Sports Promotion Board's (RSPB) Ashish Kulheria in a unanimous 9-0 decision.
Krishnan will face Duryodhan Singh Negi in the finals, who beat his Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) teammate Naveen Boora 8-1 in a split decision.
In 91kg, it was a close call as Naveen Kumar edged out Gaurav Chauhan in a 5-4 split decision, and he will take on Naman Tanwar, who was ranked first of the three in his group in the final.
Boxers who confirmed their tickets
Due to some of the weight categories having just two combatants, the winners of these trials are an automatic lock for the Olympic qualifiers.
In 75kg, Ashish Kumar of Himachal Pradesh dominated proceedings against Haryana's Ankit Khatana to win by a unanimous 9-0 decision.
In 81kg, after Sumit Sangwan's Tokyo 2020 dreams were crushed following a one-year ban by NADA's anti-doping disciplinary panel, it came down to a bout between SSCB’s Brijesh Yadav and Rajasthan’s Sachin Kumar, and it was Kumar who outdueled Yadav to win by a 6-3 split decision.
Finally, in 91+ kg, Satish Kumar got the better of his SSCB teammate Narender in a 6-3 split decision.
In without a fight
While the above pugilists had to slug it out in the trials for a place in the qualifiers, Manish Kaushik and Amit Panghal were exempt, thanks to their medal-winning performances at the 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championships, and they will appear directly at the qualifiers.