After mix luck in 2022, bigger challenges await Indian boxers in 2023

“Merry Christmas”. Thats how IANS was greeted by some of the young Indian boxers when they were contacted about their plans for the 2023 competitions, especially the Asian Games.

The 2023 sports calendar promises yet another action-packed year for India. With various qualifiers for the 2024 Paris Olympics lined up, 2023 will be a big year for Indian athletes wanting to secure a ticket to the Summer Games.

Talking about India’s schedule in boxing, there is good news for Delhiites as fans can witness their favourite pugilists in action in March.

The 2023 IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships will take place from March 15 to 31 in Delhi, as India gears up to host the biennial event for the third time in the tournament’s history.

Since the inception of the championships in 2001, the prestigious event took place twice in India previously — in 2006 and 2018, both times in Delhi. Besides this, India has also hosted the Women’s Youth World Championships in 2017 in Guwahati.

Then in May, there will be Men’s World Boxing Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from May 1-14 to keep boxing followers excited.

Later in September, the once-postponed Asian Games will begin in Hangzhou in China. The only worrying development is the surge of Covid-19 cases in China. But if all goes well, there is a lot of action that awaits Indian sports lovers in 2023.

Speaking to IANS, a Boxing Federation of India (BFI) official said that all the national boxers are gearing up for the mega events in 2023.

“We are looking at next year with new zeal and new challenges. I am sure our number of medals will increase and our boxers will shine at the world stage,” the official said.

The year 2022 proved to be a mixed bag for India boxers. The new poster girl of Indian boxing, Nikhat Zareen, claimed a hat-trick of gold medals this year. She started the year by etching her name in the history books as she became the first Indian boxer to win a second gold medal at the prestigious Strandja Memorial meet, Europe’s oldest international boxing tournament.

The Telangana boxer replicated her idol Mary Kom’s world championship-winning feat. It was India’s first worlds title in four years and only the second (after Mary) outside the country.

The 26-year-old boxer then entered the Commonwealth Games as a strong medal contender and she didn’t disappoint, clinching the 50kg title.

The Indian boxing contingent returned home with six medals from the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The likes of Nitu Ghanghas, Nikhat and Amit Panghal clinched gold, while Sagar Ahlawat bagged silver, and Rohit Tokas and Jaismine Lamboria won bronze in Birmingham.

Amit Panghal from Rohtak bettered the colour of his 2018 CWG Gold Coast silver. Veteran Shiva Thapa also sparkled in the men’s circuit. While he made a quiet exit at the CWG, the 29-year-old became the first-ever male boxer in the history of the Asian Championships to win six medals.

He was forced to withdraw midway through his final bout due to an injury, settling for a silver.

In all these developments, there was one piece of bad news for the boxing fratenity. The sport has been left out of the initial roster for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. Governance issues were cited as the reasons beind the decision.

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