India will hope for a performance worthy of their rising status in women’s boxing when the World Championship, whose build-up was marred by controversy, gets underway here on Thursday. Nikhat Zareen and Lovlina Borgohain will be at the forefront.
World champion Nikhat and Olympian Lovlina will lead the 12-member Indian team in the absence of the legendary six-time champion MC Mary Kom, who is recovering from an ACL tear in her left knee.
With the Olympics in Paris quickly approaching, both boxers will try to establish themselves in new weight classes.
world no. 4 Nikhat lost weight, going from 52 kg—the weight category she won in Turkey the previous year—to 50 kg.
After weighing in at 50 kg, this will be Nikhat’s second international competition. Although the competition wasn’t that strong in Birmingham, she won the gold medal in the light fly weight division at the Commonwealth Games.
The two-time Worlds bronze medalist has been putting in a lot of effort to build up her strength and give her punches more force, which are essential for competing in the higher weight classes.
The CWG champion Nitu Ganghas (48 kg) and bronze medalist Manisha Maun from the previous competition will also be in the spotlight (57kg).
India is hosting the prestigious event World Championship for the third time. The competition has lost some of its lustre due to a number of boycotts, a dispute between the International Boxing Association (IBA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and a legal dispute.
After the IBA, led by Russian Umar Kremlev, allowed boxers from Russia and Belarus to compete under their own flag against the IOC’s recommendation, more than ten nations, including the likes of the United States, Britain, and Ireland, withdrew from the competition.
The Indian team would hope to match its 2006 performance at home, when the boxers won eight medals, including four golds.
Squad: Nitu Ghanghas (48kg), Nikhat Zareen (50kg), Sakshi Chaudhary (52kg), Preeti (54kg), Manisha Moun (57kg), Jaismine Lamboria (60kg), Shashi Chopra (63kg), Manju Bamboria (66kg), Sanamcha Chanu (70kg), Lovlina Borgohain (75kg), Saweety Boora (81kg) and Nupur Sheoran (81+kg).