Focus on Amit, Lovlina and Nikhat as boxers chase medal at CWG 2022

Former World championships bronze medallist and five-time Asian medallist Shiva Thapa will begin India’s boxing campaign at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham with a fight against seven-time Pakistan National champion Suleman Baloch on Friday.

While Thapa (63.5kg) may face some spirited challenge from the boxer of the neighbouring country, Worlds silver medallist Amit Panghal (51kg) and women boxers Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain (70kg) and World champion Nikhat Zareen, who reduced her weight to fit into 50kg, are likely to have easier outings in their opening bouts.

If Thapa overcomes Suleman, then he will be up against Worlds bronze medallist Reese Lynch next and professional Bahamas boxer Rashield Williams, who competes in his third straight Games, in the quarterfinals.

Lovlina will start against 38-year-old New Zealander Ariane Nicholson on Saturday. But she is likely to face stiffer opposition from 2018 silver medallist Rosie Eccles of Wales in the quarterfinals.

Nikhat will meet Mozambique’s Helena Bagao on Sunday. If Nikhat advances to the quarterfinals, she will meet Helen Jones of Wales.

Last edition’s silver medallist Amit will begin against Namri Berri of Vanuatu on August 1. He may come across Scottish boxer Lennon Mulligan in the quarterfinals.

Mohammad Hussamuddin (57kg), a 2018 bronze medallist, will start against South Africa’s Amzolele Dyeyi on Saturday. Hussamuddin may meet Bangladesh’s Salim Hossain next and should not face much problem in reaching the medal round.

Asian champion Sanjeet (92kg) will lock horns with last time’s silver medallist Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali of Samoa on Saturday. A win will pit him against Grenada’s Andy Andall in the last-eight.

Olympian Ashish Kumar (80kg) got a bye and will take on Travis Tapatuetoa of Nuie on August 1. Next, he may run into England’s National champion Aaron Bowen.

Rohit Tokas (67kg) and Thailand Open champion Sumit Kundu (75kg) also received first round byes. Tokas will meet Ghanaian Alfred Kotey on August 2, while Sumit will face young Australian Callum Peters in the last-16 on Sunday.

Rookie Sagar Ahlawat (+92kg) has a tough opening round contest against Olympian Maxime Yegnong of Cameroon on Sunday.

Two-time World youth champion Nitu Ghanghas (48kg) needs to get past Northern Ireland’s Nicole Clyde on August 3 in the quarterfinals to ensure a medal.

Another promising boxer, Jaismine Lamboria (60kg) has got a bye and will begin against a strong opponent, 2018 bronze medallist Troy Garton of New Zealand, on August 4. India had finished second behind England in boxing in the 2018 Gold Coast Games. It had nine medals, including three apiece in gold, silver and bronze.

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