Asian Boxing Championships: Pooja Rani assured of a medal

Former two-time Asian Championships medallist Pooja Rani (81kg) finds herself in the semifinals already, assuring India of its first medal.

Asian Games gold-medallist Amit Panghal (left) sweating it out in Bangkok ahead of the Asian Boxing Championships.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Asian Games gold-medallist Amit Panghal is likely to face the reigning Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan in the quarterfinals as the draw of the ASBC Elite Boxing Championships 2019 was released in Bangkok, Thailand on Thursday. With the women’s 81kg draw having only five contestants, former two-time Asian Championships medallist Pooja Rani (81kg) finds herself already in the semifinals, assuring India of the first medal in the tourney.

Former world junior champion Nikhat Zareen (51kg) begins her campaign against Srey Pov Nao of Cambodia but her path gets tricker with the two-time world champion Nazym Kyzaibay waiting in the quarter-finals. Lovlina Borgohain (64kg) could have a possible face-off with China’s world champion Chen Nien-Chin in the quarters.

Amit, who started the season with a gold medal at the Strandja Boxing tournament beat the mighty Uzbek on his way to the Asiad gold last year and will be making his competitive continental debut in the 52kg category on April 21 after a first-round bye. Shiva Thapa (60kg), who will be going for a record-breaking fourth successive medal from this prestigious tournament meets Korea’s Kim Wonho in the first round.

Read: Indian camp brims with optimism ahead of Asian Boxing

“Four of our boys will be in action tomorrow. We are quite confident about our prospects. The tricky journey will begin from quarters,” said C. A. Kuttappa, head coach of the men's team.

Four male boxers from the Indian contingent have been presented with first-round byes -- Kavinder Singh Bisht, Ashish Kumar (75) Brijesh Yadav and Naman Tanwar. Two female boxers Simranjit Kaur and Pooja Rani have first-round byes and both Seema Poonia and debutant Nupur are one shot away from a medal as they open their campaign with a quarterfinal face-off.

Makran Cup gold medallist Deepak (49kg), Rohit Tokas (64kg), Ashish (69kg) and Asian Games medallist Satish Kumar (+91kg) will begin India’s medal hunt on the first day of competition.

World Championships silver medallist Sonia (54kg) will be in action on Friday as she takes on Vietnam’s Do Nha Uyan.

“It is a mixed draw and I believe that our boxers are ready for the challenge. Sonia has a World Championship silver medal and is well prepared for her bout tomorrow,” said Mohammed Ali Qamar, head coach of women's elite team.

Four-time Asian Championships gold-medallist Sarita Devi will be eyeing her sixth medal from this elite event when she begins her campaign against Korea’s Gwon Sujin.

Young Manisha Moun (54kg) has a stiff challenge in Vietnam’s Do Nha Uyen. Debutants Nitu (45kg) and Nupur (75kg) will be taking on Pin Meng-Chieh and Pak Un Sim respectively.

Experienced Seema (+81kg) faces China’s Yang Xiaoli in her opening round.  

After seven successful editions, the women’s competition will be held simultaneously as the men at the Asian Championships for the very first time. In the last edition, the Indian women grabbed a total of seven medals that included one gold, one silver and five bronze.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :