Six-time world champion Mary Kom has a possible semi-final face-off with Asian Championships bronze medallist Nikhat Zareen in 51kg as the draw of the second edition of the India Open got released in Guwahati on Sunday. In contrast, Asian Games gold medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) could have a hassle-free route to the final where he might have to take on Asian Games silver medallist Rogen Siaga Ladon of Philippines.
Ten Indian boxers have already confirmed medals with 6 in men and 4 in women being already placed in the semi-finals because of the smaller size of the draw. On the men’s side, Brijesh Yadav and Sanjay are already into the 81kg semi-finals and so are Naman Tanwar and Sanjeet in 91kg and Satish Kumar and Atul Thakur in +91kg. In women’s, Lovlina Borgohain and and Anjali are already assured of medals in 69kg while Bhagyabati Kachari and Saweety Boora are through to the last-four in 75kg by virtue of a first round bye.
“We have at least a couple of Indian boxers in each category and the competition is very close. It will be a very interesting tournament and the exposure for the boxers will stand them in good stead ahead of the World Championships,” said Raffaele Bergamasco, the Performance Director of Indian women’s boxing.
On the men’s side, the competition has heated up in 52kg and 56kg with each of the categories having at least three Indian medal hopes. In 56kg, while Asian Championships silver medallist Kavinder Singh Bisht, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Mohammed Hussamuddin and World Championships bronze medallist Gaurav Bidhuri will be vying for a podium finish, in 52kg Panghal, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gaurav Solanki and GeeBee Boxing tournament bronze medallist Sachin Siwach will be aiming for medals.
“We have World Championships medallist in Gaurav Bidhuri in 56kg, Hussamuddin has done really well and Kavinder just won the silver at the Asian Championships. In 52kg, Solanki just won a gold in Poland while Amit and Sachin are there. Each of them is competing against each other. So it will be a tough competition within the countrymen as well as with the foreign boxers. It will be a great experience for the boxers with such high level of competition,” said Santiago Nieva, India’s chief performance director.
The opening ceremony will be held at 5pm on Monday at Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi AC Indoor Stadium, Sarusajai Sports Complex, where Mr. Siddhartha Bhattacharya, Honourable Education Minister of Assam, will be the Chief Guest. Mr. Kuladhar Saikia, Director General of Police, Mr. Biswaranjan Samal, Principal Secretary, Sports & Youth Welfare, Mr. Samir Sinha, Principal Secretary, Finance, Health & Family Welfare and Mr. Jay Kowli, Secretary, Boxing Federation of India, will be gracing the occasion.
It will be followed by the Day 1 matches from 6pm where seven Indian boxers will be contesting their opening round with the highlight being the clash of Sachin Siwach vs Ramon Nicanor Quiroga of Argentina in 52kg.