Six-time world champion Mary Kom may have a possible semi-final face-off with Asian Championships bronze medallist Nikhat Zareen in 51kg in the second Indian Open boxing tournament, which got underway here Monday. As per the draw, released on Sunday, Asian Games gold medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) could have a hassle-free route to the final, where he is likely to take on Asian Games silver medallist Rogen Siaga Ladon of Philippines.
As many as 10 Indian boxers are already confirmed of a medal each with six in men and four in women entering the semi-finals straightaway because of the smaller size of the draw.
Brijesh Yadav and Sanjay are already in the 81kg semi-finals, and so are Naman Tanwar and Sanjeet in 91kg while Satish Kumar and Atul Thakur are in +91kg. In women's boxing, Lovlina Borgohain and Anjali are already assured of medals in 69kg while Bhagyabati Kachari and Saweety Boora are through to the last-four in 75kg by virtue of a first round bye.
"We have at least a couple of Indian boxers in each category and the competition is very close. It will be a very interesting tournament and the exposure for the boxers will stand them in good stead ahead of the World Championships," Raffaele Bergamasco, the Performance Director of Indian women's boxing, said.
Men's 52kg and 56kg categories have at least three Indian medal hopes. In 56kg, while Asian Championships silver medallist Kavinder Singh Bisht, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Mohammed Hussamuddin and World Championships bronze medallist Gaurav Bidhuri will be vying for a podium finish, while in 52kg Panghal, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gaurav Solanki and GeeBee Boxing tournament bronze medallist Sachin Siwach will be aiming for top honours.
"We have World Championships medallist in Gaurav Bidhuri in 56kg, Hussamuddin has done really well and Kavinder just won the silver at the Asian Championships. In 52kg, Solanki just won a gold in Poland while Amit and Sachin are there. Each of them is competing against each other.
"So it will be a tough competition within the countrymen as well as with the foreign boxers. It will be a great experience for the boxers with such high level of competition," India's chief performance director said.
Meanwhile, Nikhat Zareen recently finished with bronze medal at Asian Boxing Championship. Further, Nikhat is in top form and is eyeing for Olympic spot and India's boxing sensation Mary Kom will have a tough competition in the same category.
(With Inputs: PTI)