Following a very poor outing in Rio, the Indian contingent will hope to redeem themselves in Tokyo. India will feature in 18 sporting events at the Tokyo Olympics. The 120-member Olympic squad for Tokyo 2020 looks like the strongest-ever Indian squad for the showpiece event. India is expected to win medals in several sports and the chances of finishing the event with the country’s best medal tally are very high. One such sport is boxing. In this article, we will take a look at the full boxing contingent.
After having decent performances in Beijing and London, India could send only 3 boxers to Rio. Indian boxing team returned empty-handed. This time around, 9 Indian boxers have qualified for the upcoming showpiece event.
Here we take a look at boxers who will be representing India at Tokyo Olympics 2020 :
Amit Panghal (Men’s 52 kg): Asian Games champion and star Indian boxer Amit Panghal is India’s biggest medal hope in boxing. Current numero uno Panghal came into the spotlight after winning gold at the 2018 Asian Games by beating reigning Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov in the light flyweight category. Before the AIBA World Boxing Championship, Amit changed his weight category to flyweight to be eligible for the Olympics. Although new to the flyweight, Amit didn’t disappoint and clinched India’s first silver medal in the AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championship. Amit then won gold in the 2020 Boxing World Cup. 25-year-old Amit Panghal, who is in good form this season, has secured silver in the 2021 Asian Championship and a bronze in the Governor’s cup, St. Petersburg and is on the right track for the Summer Olympics.
Manish Kaushik (Men’s 63 kg): Indian Army officer Manish Kaushik is going to be a dark horse in the 63kg weight category. Kaushik bagged silver at the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Manish, a very skilled boxer continued to impress everyone and clinched bronze at the World Boxing Championship in 2019. Recently, the 25-year-old boxer claimed the title of Box International Champion, which serves as very good preparation for the upcoming Olympics.
Vikas Krishan (Men’s 69 kg): Hailing from India’s boxing hub Bhiwani district, Vikas Krishan is one of the finest boxers India have produced. From an early age, Vikash started to bring medals for India. He won gold at the 2010 Asian Games at the age of 18 and bronze in the 2011 World Boxing Championship. In 2018, after winning gold in the Commonwealth Games and bronze in the Asian games, Vikash went pro and boasts a 2-0 record. Before the Tokyo Olympics Vikash came back in amateur boxing and secured an Olympic quota for India. Vikas became the second boxer after Vijender Singh to qualify for three Olympics. Vikas suffered a setback at the London Olympics when even after being declared the winner, he was later disqualified. Vikash reached the quarters in Rio. This time around there will be high hopes from him. With huge experience on his back, Vikash is expected to finally deliver in the biggest stages of all.
Ashish Kumar (Men’s 75 Kg): Hailing from Himachal Pradesh, Ashish Kumar became the fifth Indian male boxer to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics when he reached the semis of 2020 Asia Oceania Boxing Olympics qualification. Ashish secured silver at the 2019 Asian championship which is his best result till today. Ashish, who is known as one of the hardest workers in the Indian Boxing Circuit will make his debut at the showpiece event in Tokyo.
Satish Kumar (Men’s 91+ kg): Satish Kumar made history when he became the first Indian Super heavyweight boxer to qualify for the Olympics when he defeated Mongolian boxer Otgonbayer Daivii in the Asian Boxing Olympics Qualifiers. Hailing from Bulandshahr, 30-year-old pugilist Satish came into the limelight when he won back to back bronze at the 2014 Asian Games and 2015 Asian boxing championship but unfortunately couldn’t qualify for the Rio Olympics. Kumar paved his back by winning gold in Grand Prix Ustanidad Labem in the Czech Republic. He then won back to back silver in Indian Open and Commonwealth Games. Satish, who is known for many comebacks throughout his career can write another fairy tale in Tokyo.
Mary Kom (Women’s 51 kg): 6-time world champion Mary Kom is undoubtedly India’s greatest ever boxer to grace the ring. Mary Kom, a living legend has achieved everything in her career barring an Olympics gold and the veteran pugilist will be aiming for it in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Mary Kom has previously won bronze at the London Olympics and became only the second Indian boxer to do so. She couldn’t qualify for the Rio Olympics and this will be her second Olympics. Once again when she will take part in Tokyo, over a billion people will hope to see a golden last dance from the nation’s best boxer.
Simranjit Kaur (Women’s 60 kg): 26-year-old Simranjit Kaur has been one of the finest Indian women boxers in recent times. She won gold at the Ahmet Comert International boxing tournament in Istanbul. Kaur won bronze at the 2018 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship and clinched a silver medal at the Asian Boxing Championship. Kaur qualified for her debut Olympics when she secured silver at the Asia-Oceania Olympics Qualifiers. Kaur is seeded 4th and will be one of the brightest hopes of the boxing contingent for a podium finish.
Lovlina Borgohain (Women’s 69 kg): 24-year-old young talented Indian pugilist Lovlina Borgohain hails from Assam. Her first taste of success at the senior level came at the 2017 Asian Championship where she bagged a bronze. She followed it up with two back to back bronze medals in World Championships. Lovlina recently won bronze in Asian Championship earlier this season and seems to be in good form before the showpiece event.
Pooja Rani (Women’s 75 kg): Hailing from Harayana’s famous Bhiwani district, Pooja Rani broke into the senior international boxing circuit when she bagged silver at the 2012 Asian Championship. She followed it up with a bronze medal at the 2014 Asian Games. Pooja is in terrific form. She won two consecutive gold medals in Asian Championships and is going to make her debut in the Olympics. 29-year-old Pooja is considered India’s best hope in the women’s category.
Expectations: After a very disappointing performance in Rio, India is sending its largest-ever boxing contingent to Tokyo. All eyes will be mainly on Amit Phangal, Pooja Rani, Vikas Krishnan, Manish Kaushik and Simranjeet Kaur to have a podium finish in Tokyo. Although age is not on her side, India’s iron lady Mary Kom will surely be the one to watch out for. Her experience in these big events and winning mentality will come in handy for the whole boxing team. And with a favourable draw, Ashish Kumar, Satish Kumar and Lovlina Borgohain are all capable to have deep runs in the showpiece event. Minimum 2 medals are expected from the boxing contingent.