Indian women boxers were given relatively tough draws compared to men as the 2022 Thailand Open International Boxing tournament will begin in Phuket on Sunday with Minakshi kick starting country’s challenge on the opening day against Jutamas Jitpong of Thailand in the 51kg first round bout.
The Boxing Federation of India has fielded a 15-member strong squad in the tournament, which will be played till April 10. It will also be the first tournament for the 2019 World Championships silver medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) and Ashish Kumar (81kg), who won the gold medal in the last edition in the 75kg, since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Panghal and Ashish will open their campaigns against opponents from Thailand Thanakon Aonyaem and Aphisit Khankhokkhruea respectively in the quarterfinals. The reigning national champions Rohit Mor (57kg) and Sumit (75kg) will also have easy starts to their challenge in the Last-8 stage.
While the Indian contingent consists of eight men and seven women, Govind Sahani (48kg), Ananta Chopade (54kg), Varinder Singh (60kg) and Pooja (69kg) are the four pugilists who will begin in the semifinals.
In the women’s section, Monika (48kg) will face two-time world championships medallist Josie Gabuco of Philippines in the opening round. Among other women boxers, who will start against strong opponents are: Manisha and Renu.
While the 2019 Asian Championships bronze medallist Manisha (57kg), who recently qualified for both the upcoming World Championships and Asian Games, will be up against two-time youth Asian champion Porntip Buapa of Thailand, Renu (54kg) will take on U-22 European champion Italy’s Sirine Charaabi.
With participation of 130 boxers including 74 male and 56 females, the tournament will witness high voltage competition in presence of top boxers from Asia, Europe, Oceania and Africa.
In the last edition of the Thailand Open, held in 2019, the Indian contingent signed off with eight medals- one gold, four silver and three bronze.
Gold medal winners will earn USD 2000 while silver and bronze medallists will fetch USD 1000 and USD 500 respectively. The tournament will also see additional prize money for the best boxer of the tournament and the best team of the competition.