Indians have their task cut out

The Indian boxers have a point to prove, and it will be interesting to see who stands up to the challenge and delivers the telling punch.

Shiva Thapa... a tough opening round against sixth-seeded Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba.   -  Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

The Indian boxers will have to punch sharp if they have to carry on the good work by Vijender Singh (bronze medal, Beijing 2008) and Mary Kom (bronze medal, London 2012).

At Rio 2016, only three Indian boxers have qualified; there are no boxers in the women’s section.

 

Shiva Thapa, who won the silver medal in the Youth Olympics and bronze in the World Championship, has drawn sixth-seeded Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba in the bantamweight first round scheduled for August 11. If the 23-year-old Indian, competing in his second Olympics, wins the bout, he is likely to run into third-seeded Zhang Jiawai of China in the quarterfinals.

The Commonwealth Games champion, Manoj Kumar, will open against Evaldas Petrauskas of Lithuania in the 64 kg category. If he wins the round, Manoj could face fifth-seeded Fazilddin Gaibnazarov of Uzbekistan in the pre-quarterfinals. Should he spring a surprise here, Manoj could challenge fourth-seeded Wuttichai Masuk of Thailand in the quarterfinals.

The much-acclaimed Vikas Krishan, who had said before coming to Rio that he visualised winning at least a bronze medal, is seeded seventh and is drawn in the same quarter as the second-seeded Bektemir Melkuziev of Uzbekistan. Vikas opens against Charles Albert Shone Conwell of the US in the first round.

It may be recalled that Vikas, a medal winner in the World Championship and gold medal winner in the Asian Games, had suffered the ignominy of being declared the loser in the London Olympics following a video review, after he had been adjudged winner in the ring.

The Indian boxers have a point to prove, and it will be interesting to see who stands up to the challenge and delivers the telling punch.