With Olympic qualification round the corner, India Open will witness 35 men and 37 women boxers from India vying for glory, even as close to 200 pugilists from 16 boxing powerhouses will participate in the tournament. Keeping in mind the approved weight categories for Olympic qualification, some of the Indian pugilists have changed their weight divisions.
After her stunning performance at the Asian Championships, where she became the first Indian to win a gold in 81kg, Pooja Rani has gone back to her original weight category of 75kg. Assam’s Bhagyabati Kachari too has made a similar change while Asian Championships bronze medallist Manisha Moun will be fighting it out in 57kg for the very first time.
Simranjit Kaur, a silver medallist at the continental tournament in 64kg, has switched to 60kg and will be competing with former world champion Sarita Devi, who added her eighth Asian medal this year. While the six-time world champion will be India’s biggest medal hope yet again, Amit Panghal (52kg) will be looking to continue his dominance after conquering the Asian Championships gold.
Assam’s Shiva Thapa (60kg), who created a record by winning medals in four consecutive Asian Championships, will be aiming to impress the home crowd, and so will Ankushita Boro (64kg), a gold medallist at the 2017 World Youth Championship.
2017 World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Gaurav Bidhuri (56kg) will be another of the big medal bets from India. President of the Boxing Federation of India Ajay Singh said the India Open is a great opportunity for the Indian boxers. In the run-up to their preparations for the World Championships, they will be facing some of the top boxers including Asian Games and World champions.