- Mary Kom to Debut in the 51 kg category.
- The Indian Open Boxing Tournament will commence from May 20.
- 200 pugilists from as many as 16 boxing powerhouses will be participating in the tournament.
With the Olympic qualification on the horizon, the second edition of the India Open Boxing Tournament kicks-off with India’s 37 women and 35 men boxers all fighting it out for glory. Some 200 pugilists from as many as 16 boxing powerhouses will be participating in the tournament which is scheduled to be held at the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium in Guwahati, Assam between May 20-24.-- Advertisement --
In what may well be the biggest talking points of the $70,000 tournament, London Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom will be seen making her competitive debut at home in the 51 kg category. Kom had opted out of the Asian Championships last month so that she could prepare for the World Championships since the event will serve as a good preparatory platform for the upcoming Olympic qualification.
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“The India Open is a great opportunity for the Indian boxers. In the run-up to their preparations for the World Championships, they will be facing some of the top boxers including Asian Games and World champions,” said Ajay Singh, President of the Boxing Federation of India (BFI).-- Advertisement --
“BFI vision is to take boxing to every corner of the country. Staging the second edition of the India Open in Assam will be a step in that direction and a chance to bring world-class boxers to the North-East region which has already contributed many Indian boxing success stories for India and will inspire the next generation to take up the sport in a much bigger way,” he added.
Due to the approved Olympic qualification weight categories, many of the Indian pugilists have made changes to their weight categories. Pooja Rani has returned to her original weight category of 75 kg after producing a stunning performance at the Asian Championships. She also went on to become the first Indian to win a gold in the 81 kg category.-- Advertisement --
Manisha Moun, Asian Championships bronze medallist, will also be competing in the 57 kg category for the very first time. Bhagyabati Kachari of Assam would be making a similar change as well.
Gaurav Bidhuri, the 2017 World Boxing Championships bronze medallist, will be seen competing in the 56 kg category.
“I have been preparing well for 51 kg category. Having got a real hand idea of the competition in this class in Germany, I am ready to give my best at this tournament and test myself ahead of the World Championships,” said Mary Kom, who led six Indian boxers to gold in the last edition in New Delhi.
“I am glad the event will be hosted in Assam this time. With the North-East being a powerhouse of talent, I hope this gives an opportunity to the youngsters to watch and get inspired by watching us live,” she added.
The seven-day tournament will be organised by the Government of India, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and the Sports Authority of India in association with the Assam government. The event will be hosted at Guwahati.
In the upcoming edition, while the gold medallists will receive $2,500, the silver medallists will make $1,000.