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Unprecedented medal haul on the cards

The nine pugilists in the fray have the experience and class to land the winning punches

India has fielded its biggest boxing squad, consisting of nine pugilists of class and calibre, for the Olympics and expects an unprecedented medal haul.

Worlds silver medallist and No.1 ranked Amit Panghal (52kg), Worlds bronze medallists Manish Kaushik (63kg) and Vikas Krishan (69kg), the talented Ashish Kumar (75kg) and the experienced Satish Kumar (+91kg) form the men’s squad.

Six-time World champion and London Olympic bronze medallist M.C. Mary Kom (51kg), Worlds bronze medallists Simranjit Kaur (60kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), and two-time Asian champion Pooja Rani Bohra (75kg) are the women boxers in the fray.

In top form

Amit is in top form and has landed medals in recent international events. If he gets a chance, avenging his loss against World and Olympic champion Shakhobdin Zoirov will be on top of his agenda.

Amit may also face leading competitors, such as double Worlds medallist Mohamed Flissi, former World champion Yosbany Veitia, Olympic light flyweight silver medallist Yuberjen Martínez and Olympic silver medallist Yoel Finol.

Manish, who has recovered from surgery and COVID-19, and can pose problems for his opponents.

Vikas is hungry for success in his third appearance. His weight has boxers like former World and Olympic champion Roniel Iglesias, Worlds silver medallist and Commonwealth Games champion Pat McCormack, Olympic silver medallist Lorenzo Sotomayor and World champion in welterweight and Olympic medallist Andrey Zamkovoy.

Ashish and Satish can beat any opponent on their day.

Among the women, 38-year-old Mary will attract maximum attention.

Olympics bronze medallist Ingrit Valencia, Worlds bronze medallist Virginia Fuchs, World champion Huang Hsiao-wen, Worlds silver medallist Buse Naz Cakiroglu and double Worlds silver medallist Stoyka Krasteva and others will look to hinder Mary’s gold quest.

The fourth-ranked Simranjit is rated highly and will be no less than her competitors, including World champion Beatriz Ferreira, two-time Worlds medallist Sudaporn Seesondee, former World champion Kellie Harrington and World and Olympic bronze medallist Mira Potkonen.

Lovlina, ranked fifth, has overcome hiccups to be fighting fit. She may have to take on elite rivals such as former World champion Chen Nien-chin, current World champion Busenaz Surmeneli, Worlds silver medallist Angela Carini and twice Worlds bronze medallist Nadine Apetz.

Giant-Killer

The fifth-placed Pooja will look to enhance her reputation as a giant-killer. She will have company in Worlds bronze medallists Khadija El Mardi and Tammara Thibeault, ex-World champion and Olympic medallist Li Qian, World champion Lauren Price and World and Olympic silver medallist Nouchka Fontijn.

Tracking Indian boxers’ progress will be exciting.

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