Indian Boxers Aim For An Improved Show At World Championships

Indian boxers will be highly motivated to better the one bronze medal secured in the previous edition when they step inside the ring for the men’s World Championships, starting from Monday.

There are no Olympic berths on offer but the Worlds will provide the pugilists with good preparation ahead of September’s Asian Games, which is a qualifying event for the Paris Olympics.

The revised weight divisions for men, after being reduced for from 13 to 7 are 51kg, 57kg, 63.5kg, 71kg, 80kg, 92kg, +92kg. 

India’s hopes will be majorly pinned on six-time Asian Championship medallist Shiva Thapa (63.5kg) in the absence of Amit Panghal, who claimed the country’s maiden silver in 2019, and last edition’s lone medallist Akash Kumar.

Shiva created history last yea when he became the first male pugilist to win six Asian Championships medals with a silver. 

Having won a bronze at the 2015 Worlds, Shiva has tasted success at the prestigious event. He will be eager to change the shade of his medal.

Alongside Shiva, Mohammad Hussamuddin (57kg) and Ashish Chaudhary (80kg) form the experienced core of the squad.

While Hussamuddin is a two-time Commonwealth Games medallist, Ashish is a former Asian Championship silver medallist and also represented the country at the Tokyo Olympics. He will be competing at the event for the second time and would be keen to add another major medal to his name.

The Indian squad also has some young blood in 2021 World Youth champion Sachin Siwach (54kg) and Harsh Choudhary (86kg). Both boxers will be making their World Championships debut. 

Strandja memorial silver medallist Govind Sahani (48kg) will also be keen to continue his good run.

Young pugilists Varinder Singh (60kg), Akash Sangwan (67kg), Nishant Dev (71kg) and Sumit Kundu (75kg), have also shown promise. Competing in their second World Championships, the quartet will be looking to use the experience to win this time.

The boxers are accompanied by CA Kuttapa, who returns as head coach.  

Like the Women’s World Championships in March, the field will be a depleted one.

Countries including Britain, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Canada, Ireland, Sweden, Poland and New Zealand are boycotting the event after the International Boxing Association, headed by Russian Umar Kremlev, allowed boxers from Russia and Belarus to compete under their own flag against the International Olympic Committee’s recommendation.

However, more than 640 boxers from 104 countries are set to fight it out in the tournament where gold-winners will walk away with a prize money of USD 200,000.

The silver medallists are to be given USD 100,000, and both bronze-medallists will be awarded USD 50,000 each.

Seven defending World Champions are among those who will fight for glory, including Sofiane Oumiha from France, Tomoya Tsuboi and Sewonrets Okazawa from Japan, Loren Alfonso from Azerbaijan, Saken Bibossinov from Kazakhstan, Yoenlis Hernandez Martinez and Julio La Cruz from Cuba.  

Govind Sahani (48kg), Deepak Bhoria (51kg), Sachin Siwach (54kg), Mohammad Hussamuddin (57kg), Varinder Singh (60kg), Shiva Thapa (63.5kg), Akash Sangwan (67kg), Nishant Dev (71kg), Sumit Kundu (75kg), Ashish Chaudhary (80kg), Harsh Choudhary (86kg), Naveen Kumar (92kg) and Narender Berwal (92+kg).

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