Rohit, Akash off to flying starts at AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships

Akash Sangwan BoxingNew Delhi: Rohit Mor and Akash Sangwan started India’s campaign at the 2021 AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships with commanding victories on the opening day in Belgrade, Serbia.

Making debut at the prestigious event, Rohit set the tone for India after defeating Olympian Jean Caicedo 5-0 comprehensively in the 57kg opening round match on Monday. The 20-year-old Indian made good use of his height and hit some timely heavy blows to score crucial points against the Ecuadorian pugilist, who participated at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Later in the night, Akash extended the winning momentum for India and produced an equally dominating show against Adem Fukran of Turkey in the 67kg bout. The 21-year-old Akash showcased good attacking as well as defensive skills of boxing and hardly allowed the Turkish boxer to score any points before completing a 5-0 win in a lopsided match.

In the round-of-32, Rohit will take on Alen Rahimic of Bosnia and Herzegovina while Akash will be up against German boxer Daniel Krotter on Thursday.

The second day of the competition on Tuesday will see four Indians starting their campaigns. While bronze medal winner of the 2015’s edition, Shiva Thapa (63.5kg) will take on Kenya’s Victor Nyadera, Narender (+92kg) will fight against Poland’s Oskar Safaryan. Sumit (75kg) will play against Damon O’Neill of Jamaica. 

On the other hand, Deepak Bhoria (51kg) will have a comparatively difficult challenge in his opening round match as he will start off against two-time Asian champion Azat Usenaliev of Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday. In-form Deepak, who claimed senior nationals title last month, had caught many eyeballs earlier this year after defeating Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan at Strandja Memorial Tournament.

Two Indian pugilists—reigning Asian champion Sanjeet (92kg) and Sachin Kumar (80) have been awarded with first-round byes in their respective categories. Govind kumar Sahani (48kg), Varinder Singh (60kg), Nishant Dev (71kg), Sumit (75kg) and Lakshya Chahar (86kg) are the other boxers of the 13-member Indian contingent who will compete at the 21st edition of the tournament which will go on till November 6.

The event has been witnessing competition between 650 top boxers of more than 100 participating countries from across the world. It is also the first time in the history, the championships is being played in 13 weight categories as per AIBA's newly-introduced weight divisions. 

The gold medallists of each category will receive $100,000 while silver and bronze medallists will be given $50,000 and $25,000 respectively. Alongside an enormous prize pool of $2.6 million, AIBA will also award the winners with beautifully designed medals, made of solid gold and silver respectively, and belts to commemorate their accomplishments.

In the last edition of the Men’s World Championships, held in 2019, Indian contingent had concluded its campaign with two medals including one silver by Amit Panghal and a bronze claimed by Manish Kaushik.