Indian boxers will be in for some competitive action before the year ends at the Cologne Boxing World Cup in Germany that runs from December 16 to 20.
Nine men and five women boxers along with the coaching staff have been camping in Italy since October with an eye on the upcoming World Olympic Boxing Qualifiers and the Tokyo Olympics.
The Cologne Boxing World Cup will be a perfect platform for the boxers to access their progress in a year where competitions have been few and far between.
Organised by the European Boxing Confederation, the Cologne Boxing World Cup is expected to see as many as 100 boxers in action from Europe and India in 13 weight categories. France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Croatia, Ukraine and Germany make up the eight participating nations.
The Cologne World Cup, Germany’s international boxing tournament, is the new name of the Chemistry Cup, which has been running since 1970.
On Thursday, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) confirmed that the team, which was due to return home this week, will extend its European tour and will be back only after competing in the German event.
While the Indian men had some competitive exposure at the invitational Alexis Vastine International Boxing Tournament in October, the Cologne meet will be the first event for the women boxers since the Asian Boxing Qualifiers in March.
And the head coach of the Indian women’s boxing team, Raffaele Bergamasco, has welcomed this much-needed exposure.
“We participate in this tournament to test the form of our athletes. It was not planned, but after a long period without competition, we decided to compete with good opponents,” the 49-year-old Bergamasco told the New Indian Express.
“Once we know the list of participating countries, we will work on the strategies for the tournament,” the Italian added.
Meanwhile, for the men, the event will be an opportunity to compete against some quality opposition after a long lay-off.
“We have trained for close to a month now in Italy and stepped up our performances since our arrival here, we had a good competition in France and then few friendlies in Italy and now a strong tournament in Germany,” BFI high-performance director Santiago Nieva said.
“These exposure tournaments will ensure we are more competition ready and bring our players up-speed as far as our preparations for the Olympics are concerned.”