Indian boxers gearing up for Worlds test

Seven boxers qualified for the World boxing championships through the continental event, the Asian championships in Tashkent in May.

Olympian boxer Manoj Kumar will lead the Indian contingent at the AIBA World boxing championships in Hamburg. (file picture)   -  Special Arrangement

A year prior to the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, eight Indian boxers will test their mettle in the AIBA World boxing championships to be held in Hamburg, Germany, from August 25.

Seven boxers qualified for the Worlds through the continental event, the Asian championships in Tashkent in May. Bantamweight boxer Gaurav Bidhuri got a ticket to Hamburg after Bhutan declined its quota place.

Since the boxers had reaped the benefits of a combined training camp in Kazakhstan ahead of the Asian championships, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) organised a training camp in Fontainebleu, a scenic French town about 70km from Paris, from July 13 to 24 in the run-up to the Worlds.

The boxers also competed in the Grand Prix Usti Nad Labem in Czech Republic, where they won eight medals.

“The training camp in France was beneficial and will help us in Hamburg,” said former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manoj Kumar.

Olympian and Asian silver medallist Sumit Sangwan endorsed Manoj's views. “Exposure to European style of boxing during the camp was good for us,” said Sumit.

A team source claimed that former World championship medallist Vikas Krishan chose to train in India. Interestingly, the BFI had conducted a probe against Vikas for skipping an Asian championship semifinal bout but is yet to act upon the enquiry panel's report, which was submitted more than a month ago.

Since the qualification format has filtered the best boxers, the elite event, featuring 280 boxers including 18 Rio Olympics medallists, promises to stage high quality bouts.

Nevertheless, the Indian boxers, combining youth and experience, seem to be ready for the challenge.

Young National champion and Asian bronze medallist Amit Panghal (49kg) and the talented Kavinder Singh Bisht (52kg) will be excited to make their mark at the highest stage.

The experienced lot, including Usti Nad Labem gold medallist Gaurav Bidhuri (52kg), Worlds bronze medallist Shiva Thapa (60kg), Manoj (69kg), Vikas (75kg), Sumit (91kg) and National champion Satish Kumar (+91kg), will try to assert their supremacy.

They will board the flight to Germany from Delhi early on Saturday and will use the next few days to acclimatise themselves to the conditions in Hamburg.