The boxing federation will organize a camp for the top players ahead of the trails, which are likely to get underway in February
The boxing talent pool in India continues to grow with young Indian pugilists continuing to shine on the international level.
It has always been a sport in which India has won laurels and medals in international events including the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games. In fact, Mary Kom has also won India a bronze in women's boxing at London 2012.
There are plenty of upcoming boxing talent in the country who will be the country's future. And Nagpur-based Alfiya Khan is the latest Indian boxing sensation who is hoping to make it big.
So who is Alfiya Khan?
Khan, 17, is in the news after she qualified for the World Youth Boxing Championships trials through the Khelo India ranking event in the +81kg category. In the process, she became the only girl from Maharashtra to qualify for the trials.
The ranking event was organized by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Boxing Federation of India (BAI) at the National Boxing Academy (NBA), in Rohtak, to identify young talent for the world trials.
And Khan punched above her weight in the competition. She outclassed Punjab-based Jora Singh in the first minute of the second round, before defeating Assam's Sainika Boro in 40 seconds in the semi-finals.
Her coach Ganesh Purohit believes the advanced skills she worked on during the lockdown had paid off.
"We worked on some advanced skills during the lockdown as she graduated to the youth section. This performance is a reflection of her newly developed skills and maturity," Purohit told The Times of India.
The daughter of a police constable, she started boxing only in 2017 at the age of 14. Her brother is also a boxer but Alfiya is the first from her family to be allowed to pursue sports as a career.
Interestingly, she is a southpaw.
She trains with Amanpreet Kaur and Ganesh Purohit the Khelo India-SAI National Boxing Academy in Rohtak.
Domestic success came quickly for Alfiya Khan. Her first year as a junior was fruitful. She won medals at the Indian Women’s School National Games and in the Women’s Junior National Championships.
In 2018, she also became the first sportsperson from Nagpur to get a Khelo India sponsorship.
Her success at the domestic level meant that she was included in the Indian junior team for the 2nd Nations Cup International Boxing Championship in Serbia in 2018. It meant that she became the first boxer from Nagpur to be selected by India for an international tournament.
Khan has been doing well on the international stage for some time now. In 2018, in her first international assignment, she won the silver medal which meant she was earmarked as a talent to watch out for. In 2019, she had clinched a bronze medal at the 3rd Nations Cup International Boxing Championship in Vrbas, Serbia. Alfiya settled for the third spot this time after losing to Russian boxer Vorontsova Valeria in the 80+ kg category.
A few weeks later, she was crowned the Asian junior champion in the +80kg category. Khan defeated Kazakhstan's Magauyayeva Daina to clinch the gold medal at the 1st Asian Junior Championships held in Fujairah, UAE.
She also has two golds, two silvers and a bronze medal in national tournaments.
She built such a fearsome reputation after her Asian success that in the Maharashtra State Boxing Championship in 2019, she terorrised her opponents. She won the pre-quarterfinals, quarterfinals and final bouts in the 80+ category within 30 seconds.
To top it all off, in the semifinal, her opponent Maya Rajput literally walked out of the ring before the bout started.
The boxing federation will organize a camp for the top players ahead of the trails, which is likely to begin in February. The AIBA Youth Championship, meanwhile, will later commence in Poland from April 10 to 24.