It was an amazing opening day for India at the Asia Boxing Championships 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Satish Kumar (+91kg category) and the rising sensation of women’s boxing, Sonia Chahal (57kg category) entered the quarterfinals in their respective category.
Kumar defeated Iran’s Iman Ramezanpour Delavar to seal his spot in the last eight, while the AIBA World Championship (2018) silver-medallist, Chahal out punched Vietnam’s Uyan Do Nha in the women's category.
Kumar has previously won a bronze medal in the Asian Boxing Championships (2015). It was a one-sided contest for Kumar as he easily won his bout against his opponent, striking him at will.
Chahal, on the other hand, won her match against an overly defensive opponent. She presented a flawless performance and registered a 5-0 win.
In the morning session of the opening day, national champion Deepak (49kg) and Rohit Tokas (64kg) made it to the last 16 stages with thrilling wins.
In the evening session, it was Ashish (69kg) who defeating Cambodia’s VY Sophors in a closely contested match.
Earlier, Deepak was against Vietnam’s Loi Bui Cong Danh. Deepak's technique was simple as he was focussed on hitting the opponent straight, ensuring clean and impactful punches.
Danh was not exactly an easy nut to crack but there was no power in his punches and lacked the accuracy. As a result, Deepak defeated Danh, fetching a unanimous verdict from the judges.
Rohit Tokas was against a more aggressive opponent in the form of Taiwan’s Chu-Yen Lai but he hardly broke a sweat as he advanced further in the championship with a similar scoreline.
Tokas, who has won three king’s cup bronze medals here, toyed with his opponent, who was clearly looking under-prepared for the bout.
Lai was cautioned several times in the match for failing to keep his head up. In the last three minutes of the match, Lai went for the jugular but was thwarted by Tokas with a smart defensive strategy that involves keeping the opponent at an arm's length, away from the corners.
“All the gold medal winners from this competition will be assured of a place in the World Championships team (scheduled in September this year),” said Indian boxing’s director, Santiago Nieva to PTI.
Over 100 women and 198 men boxers are vying for the top honours in the Asian Boxing Championships.
In place of any contentious decisions, the tournament has a bout review process. Teams will be handed two yellow cards at the starting of their respective bouts and the coaches will have a minute after the bout to appeal against a decision they feel is unfair to them.
A number of cameras have been set up in the stadium that will record the bout in slow motion for reviews for an observer and later, the observer will decide on the merits of the appeals.
In case the decision does not favour the team concerned, the national federation will have to pay USD 1,000 as a penalty.
Three-time Asian Championships medallist Shiva Thapa will begin his campaign for a fourth medal against Korea's Kim Wonho.
Kavinder Singh Bisht (56kg) and Ashish Kumar (75kg) will begin their quests after a first-round bye while Deepak and Rohit Tokas will continue with their medal hunt.
On the women's front, debutant Nitu (48kg) will look forward to make her presence felt at the prestigious continental event. Youngster Manisha Moun will be competing in the 54kg.
In women's welterweight, Indian hopes will be resting on Lovlina Borgohain who will be up against Vietnam's Tran Thi Lin.
For the very first time after seven successful editions, the women’s competitions are being held simultaneously as the men at the Asian Boxing Championships.
Indian women grabbed a total of seven medals that included one gold, one silver and five bronze in the last edition.
India is participating with a 20-member squad this time and would love to improve their medal tally in this edition.
(With Inputs from PTI)
(Featured Image: FB/Boxing Federation of India)
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