The Commonwealth Games have always been a happy hunting ground for Indian boxers. The trend is likely to continue in Birmingham with the pugilists getting relatively easy opening draws. The bouts will start on Friday.
Reigning world champion Nikhat Zareen will start her campaign in the women’s 50kg light flyweight category against a lesser-known Helena Ismael Bagao of Mozambique on Sunday. A win against Helena will put the 21-year-old two-time Strandja Boxing tournament gold medallist in the quarterfinal against Helen Jones of Wales.
Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain is also expected to comfortably sail into the quarterfinals of the women’s 70kg light middleweight category. She begins against unfancied Ariane Nicholson of New Zealand on Saturday.
In the quarterfinals, the two-time World Championship bronze medallist will be up against 2018 CWG silver medal winner from Wales, Rosie Eccles, who got a bye in her opening round.
Asian championship bronze medallist Jasmine has received a first-round bye in the women’s 60kg lightweight category, and the young southpaw will clash with Gold Coast bronze medallist Troy Garton of New Zealand in the August 4 quarterfinal match-up.
In women’s 48kg category, Nitu is one victory away from securing a medal as only eight boxers feature in the draw. She will take on Nicole Clyde of Northern Ireland in the quarters on August 3.
In the men’s categories, 2018 CWG silver medallist Amit Panghal will begin against Vanuatu’s Namri Berri in the 51kg flyweight class on August 1, while last edition’s bronze medallist Mohammed Hussamuddin will fight South Africa’s Amzolele Dyeyi in his opening 57kg featherweight category bout on July 30.
An India-Pakistan clash is slated for Friday when former World Championships medallist Shiva Thapa takes on Suleman Baloch in the opening round of the 63.5kg light welterweight category. In the 67kg welterweight category, Rohit Tokas will head straight to the second bout after receiving a first-round bye. He will face Alfred Kotey of Ghana on August 2.
The 75kg middleweight category, which has continuously fetched medals in the past three CWG editions, will have teenager Sumit Kundu taking on Callum Peters of Australia in the second round. The Indian got a first-round bye.
Thailand Open silver medallist Ashish Kumar also got a first round bye in the men’s 80kg light heavyweight category. As such, he will take on Travis Tapatuetoa of Niue in the second round on August 1, while Asian champion Sanjeet will be up against Ato Leau Plodzicki-Faogali of Samoa in the 91kg heavyweight first round on Saturday. Sagar Ahlawat will begin his +92kg super heavyweight campaign against Maxime Yegnong Nijeyo of Cameroon in the first round on Sunday.