When the World Championship, whose buildup was marred by controversies, begins on Thursday, Nikhat Zareen and Lovlina Borgohain will be at the forefront as India Eye a Show befitting their Growing Status in Women’s Boxing.
The 12-member Indian team will be led by world champion Nikhat and Olympic bronze medalist Lovlina in the absence of the legendary six-time champion MC Mary Kom.
With the Paris Olympics just around the corner, both boxers will try to establish themselves in new weight classes.
Global No. 4 Nikhat cut down her weight from 52kg the weight class in which she found brilliance last year in Turkey to 50kg.
In contrast, Lovlina has increased in size from the 69 kg welterweight division to the 75 kg middleweight division since both of their preferred weight classes were eliminated for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Nikhat has competed in two international competitions since dropping to 50 kg. She won gold at the Commonwealth Games in the light flyweight division, but the competition in Birmingham was not particularly strong.
Nonetheless, that won’t be the situation here. Being an Olympic weight classification, Nikhat should confront a portion of the top fighters while heading to the platform.
In spite of the fact that Lovlina brought home the Asian Titles in the 75kg division, she is as yet adjusting to her new weight class.
The two-time Worlds bronze medalist has been working hard to improve her punch power and strength, two essential skills for success in higher weight classes.
According to Lovlina, who spoke with PTI, “the focus has been on improving the power in my punches because my opponents will be much stronger than what I encountered in the 69kg category.”
CWG champion Nitu Ganghas (48 kg) and bronze medalist Manisha Maun (57 kg) will also be in the spotlight.
It is anticipated that the likes of Sakshi Chaudhary (52 kg), Preeti (54 kg), Shashi Chopra (63 kg), and Sanamcha Chanu (70 kg) will cause a stir.
India is hosting the prestigious event for the third time. However, a progression of blacklists, the contention between the Global Boxing Affiliation (IBA) and the Worldwide Olympic Council (IOC), and a legal dispute have taken the sheen off the competition.
Over ten nations, including the United States, Great Britain, and Ireland, withdrew from the competition after the International Boxing Association (IBA), led by Russian Umar Kremlev, allowed boxers from Russia and Belarus to compete under their own flag, in contrast to the IOC’s recommendation.
Additionally, the IOC’s announcement that it would be in charge of the 2024 Paris Olympics qualifiers rather than the IBA, which has been suspended since 2019, has exacerbated the ongoing conflict between the two world bodies.
However, the IBA continued by announcing that the main qualifying events for the men’s and women’s World Championships this year would be held by them.
In the end, the Delhi High Court declined to intervene in the matter. Over 300 boxers from 65 nations will compete in the championship’s 13th edition, and the gold medalists will receive USD 100,000 in cash.
The winners of the silver medal will receive USD 50,000, while the winners of the bronze medal will each receive USD 25,000.In the previous competition, India won three medals, including a gold.