India’s biggest boxing tournament begins in New Delhi on Sunday
NEW DELHI, January 27: The Spicejet India Open gets under way here on Sunday, with as many as 223 boxers from 22 different countries eyeing the $100,000 prize money, the highest ever to be offered in the history of the sport.
India will aim to make its presence felt, fielding close to80 boxers made up of four teams in the men’s and five in the women’scategories.For the first time, boxing fans in the country will be able to see some of thefinest boxers from Cuba, the big daddy of world boxing.Cuban boxing has seen a resurgence in the last couple of years, after yieldingground to European nations, including Germany and Italy. The US, Canada,Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have also produced top fighters in recenttimes.Asia too has been cornering medals, with Thailand, the Philippines, Kazakhstan,Uzbekistan and Mongolia excelling in international tournaments.“This is India’s biggest boxing tournament. Our fans will be able to watch theworld’s best in action right here in our country,” Ajay Singh, BFI presidentsaid. “I am sure India will win a number of medals and will continue to make animpact in world boxing,” he added.Each gold medal will be worth $2,500, silver $,1000 and a bronze $500. Thereare 11 categories for men and 10 for women.Among the foreign boxers to watch out for are Cuba’s most seasoned man, RabiArmando Martinez, a pro boxer and son of former Cuban legend Artmando MartinezSenior.Rabi is a former Cuban national champion and comes with loads of experience.Then comes Arisnoidys Despaigne, a 2013 AIBA World Boxing Championships silvermedalist.Despaigne, an orthodox boxer, refused to take the professional rout butexcelled in the World Boxing Series last season in the 69kg category.Aresene Fokou Fosso is an African Nations champ and three-time Cameroonnational champ, apart from being an AIBA World Championship bronze medalist. Hewill be Africa’s Trojan in the +91 category.Munkh-Erdene Uranchimeg is Mongolia’s flagbearer and boasts of a great show onthe international circuit. Uranchimeg is a two-time world champ, Asian Gameschamp and a bronze medalist at the 2012 London Olympics.Finland’s Potkonen Mira Marjut and Panama’s Bylon Atheyna, the lightweight andmiddleweight queens of the roped square, come with loads of experience and aredetermined not to return empty handed.India’s challenge in the women’s event will be led by none other five-timeWorld champion MC MaryKom. Sarita Devi, Sonia Lather, Shashi Chopra andPooja Rani will be the other ladies who will be aiming for the gold.Forty Indian men will also be in fray, led by Shiva Thapa in the 60-kg class.Devendro Singh, Sachin Siwach, Manoj Kumar, Gaurav Solanki and MohammadHussamuddin are the other boxers to watch for.