Crunch time for India male boxers looking to punch Olympic tickets - Hindustan Times
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Crunch time for India male boxers looking to punch Olympic tickets

ByAvishek Roy
Mar 02, 2024 10:28 PM IST

Women boxers secured four berths for Paris at the 2023 Asian Games but men got none. The World Qualifier will be crucial

The focus will be on India’s male boxers as they look to punch their Paris Olympics ticket from the World Qualifier in Busto Arsizio, Italy starting on Sunday. While the women booked four Olympic berths at the Hangzhou Asian Games, the men failed to grab any spot.

Mohammad Hussamuddin(BFI)
Mohammad Hussamuddin(BFI)

India will be in the fray in all seven men's Olympic weight divisions and in two divisions in the women’s competition.

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There are high hopes from the three world championships medallists -- Mohammad Hussamuddin (57kg), who is returning from a knee injury, Deepak Bhoria (51kg) and young Nishant Dev (71kg). Hussamuddin missed the Asian Games but his recovery has been good. Indian boxers were camping in Montenegro and training with other international teams in the build-up to the event in Italy.

“We had a good two-week camp. Our boxers had sparring sessions with boxers from Japan, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Russia, etc. We hope to secure a good number of quotas,” coach Mohammed Aitesamuddin, who was part of the training camp, said.

He also said his brother Hussamuddin has recovered well from injury. “The rehab was very good and that’s why he came back to the ring in time. We would have liked him to play in Strandja, but since it was very close to the qualifier, the team management rightly decided not to take a risk,” he said.

Deepak and Nishant will both need to step up from the first round. At the Asian Games, they lost to technically skilful Japanese boxers. Deepak fought well against Tomoya Tsuboi, the reigning 2021 bantamweight world champion, but lost 1-4 on points. Nishant lost to Japan's Sewon Okazawa in the quarter-finals despite a final round comeback.

The seasoned Shiva Thapa (63.5kg) has been dominating at home, but he needs to show he can be equally good in winning an Olympic quota. Asian Games bronze medallist Narender Berwal (+92kg), and national champions Lakshya Chahar (80kg) and Sanjeet Kumar (92kg) will also be in the fray.

A semi-final berth will ensure Paris qualification in Italy. The tournament has 28 quota places for men. However, being a world qualifier, the competition will be tough.

Among women, CWG medallist Jaismine Lamboria (60kg) and Asian championships medallist Ankushita Boro (66kg) will be aiming to win the remaining quotas.

Two-time world champion Nikhat Zareen (50kg), Olympic bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain (75kg), Preeti (54kg) and Parveen Hooda (57kg) have already secured berths at the Asian Games.

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