Thailand Open: Boxer Minakshi to begin Indian challenge; Amit Panghal, Ashish return to international circuit

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Indian women boxers were given relatively tough draws compared to men in the 2022 Thailand Open International Boxing tournament, beginning in Phuket on Sunday, with Minakshi kickstarting the country’s challenge on the opening day against Jutamas Jitpong of Thailand in the 51kg first-round bout.

The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) has fielded a 15-member squad in the tournament, which will be played till April 10. It will also be the first tournament for the 2019 World Championship silver medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) and Ashish Kumar (81kg), who won the gold medal in the last edition in the 75kg, since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Panghal and Ashish will open their campaigns against opponents from Thailand, Thanakon Aonyaem and Aphisit Khankhokkhruea, respectively in the quarter-finals. The reigning national champions Rohit Mor (57kg) and Sumit (75kg) will also have easy starts to their challenge in the Last-8 stage.

While the Indian contingent consists of eight men and seven women, Govind Sahani (48kg), Ananta Chopade (54kg), Varinder Singh (60kg) and Pooja (69kg) are the four pugilists who will begin in the semi-finals.

In the women’s section, Monika (48kg) will face two-time world championships medallist Josie Gabuco of the Philippines in the opening round. Among other women boxers, who will start against strong opponents are: Manisha and Renu.

While the 2019 Asian Championships bronze medallist Manisha (57kg), who recently qualified for both the upcoming World Championships and Asian Games, will be up against two-time youth Asian champion Porntip Buapa of Thailand, Renu (54kg) will take on U-22 European champion Italy’s Sirine Charaabi.

With the participation of 130 boxers including 74 males and 56 females, the tournament will witness high voltage competition in presence of top boxers from Asia, Europe, Oceania and Africa.

In the last edition of the Thailand Open, held in 2019, the Indian contingent signed off with eight medals – one gold, four silver and three bronze.

Indian squad:

Men: Govind Sahani (48kg), Amit Panghal (52kg), Ananta Chopade (54kg), Rohit Mor (57kg), Varinder Singh (60kg), Sumit (75kg), Ashish Kumar (81kg) and Gaurav Chauhan (91kg)

Women: Monika (48kg), Minakshi (51kg), Renu (54kg), Manisha (57kg), Monika (63kg), Pooja (69kg) and Bhagyabati kachari (75kg)

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