Mary Kom has it tough

Six-time world champion MC Mary Kom is likely to have a face-off with Asian Championships bronze medallist Nikhat Zareen in 51kg semi-final as the draw of the second edition of the India Open was released here on Sunday evening.

On the other hand, Asian Games gold medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) may have a smooth route to the final where he might face Asian Games silver medallist Rogen Siaga Ladon of Philippines.

Due to the smaller size of the draw, at least 10 Indian boxers have already confirmed medals with six in men and four in women being already placed in the semi-finals.

India's high-performance director Santiago Nieva (extreme left) with boxers MC Mary Kom (second from left), Amit Panghal and Shiva Thapa (right) in Guwahati on Sunday. Pic/PTI Keen competition"A couple of Indian boxers are in each category and the competition is very close. It will be a very interesting tournament and the exposure for the boxers will stand them in good stead ahead of the World Championships," said Raffaele Bergamasco, the Performance Director of Indian women's boxing.

Brijesh Yadav and Sanjay are already into the 81kg semi-finals and so are Naman Tanwar and Sanjeet in 91kg. Satish Kumar and Atul Thakur are in +91kg too. Similarly, in women's, Lovlina Borgohain and Anjali are already assured of medals in 69kg while Bhagyabati Kachari and Saweety Boora are through to the last-four in 75kg due to a first round bye.

The competition will be thrilling in the 52kg and 56kg with each of the categories having at least three Indian medal hopes. In 56kg, Asian Championships silver medallist Kavinder Singh Bisht, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Mohammed Hussamuddin and World Championships bronze medallist Gaurav Bidhuri will be vying for a podium finish.

India boxer Nikhat Zareen

Santiago Nieva, India's chief performance director, said: "We have World Championships medallist Gaurav Bidhuri in 56kg. Hussamuddin has done well and Kavinder just won the silver at the Asian Championships.

"In 52kg, Solanki just won a gold in Poland while Amit and Sachin are there. Each of them is competing against each other. So it will be a tough competition within the countrymen as well as with the foreign boxers. It will be a great experience for the boxers with such high level of competition." In 52kg Panghal, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gaurav Solanki and GeeBee Boxing tournament bronze medallist Sachin Siwach will be aiming for medals too.

Yesterday, the Championship began with great excitement with hundreds of audience cheering for the home team. The first day of the tourney witnessed India's marathon victory with all the seven Indian contenders including six women pugilists winning their respective bouts.

Bright start for IndiaSonia Lather (57kg), Manisha Moun (57kg) and former world youth champion Sachin (52kg) gave India a bright start. The 2017 youth world champion Jyoti (51kg), 2018 world youth silver medallist Anamika (51kg) and Shashi Chopra (60kg) led the youth brigade to wins.

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