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Indian Boxers Renew Quest For Paris Olympics 2024 Quota In Italy

The seasoned Shiva Thapa, Deepak Bhoria and Nishant Dev will be among nine Indian boxers fighting it out for Paris Olympic berths at the 1st World Qualification Tournament, starting in Busto Arsizio, Italy on Sunday. Seven men and two women from India will be aiming to secure Olympic berths at the qualifiers being conducted by the Paris 2024 Boxing Unit (PBU), an ad-hoc body created by the International Olympic Committee Executive Board. The tournament has 49 quota places on offer and a boxer will be assured of a Paris ticket after reaching the semifinals.

In the women’s 60kg category, however, there will be a box-off between the losing semifinalists to decide the Olympic berths as only three spots are available.

While several boxers have already obtained quota places via their respective continental events, there are many world-class pugilists including Colombia’s Yuberjen Martinez and Tomoya Tsuboi of Japan in the men’s 51kg, reigning 57kg world champion Makhmud Sabyrkhan of Kazakshtan and Olympic silver medallist Yoel Finol of Venezuela, who will be keen to seal the deal in Italy this month.

India’s hopes will be spearheaded by the trio of 2023 world championship medallists — Bhoria (51kg), Mohammed Hussamudin (57kg) and Dev (71kg).

Bhoria and Dev have emerged as strong contenders in their respective weight classes over the last year.

Two-time Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Hussamudin will be back in the ring for the first time since last year’s world championships, having undergone a surgery on his left knee.

Expectations will be high from the six-time Asian Championship medallist Thapa (63.5kg) as well as former Asian champion Sanjeet (92kg).

Super heavyweight boxer Narender Berwal ( 92kg) is also a strong contender. He came the closest to clinching a quota among all Indian male pugilists at the Asian Games, which was the first qualifying event for the boxers from the continent.

Among women, Jaismine Lamboria will have her task cut out in the women’s 60kg category. She was given strong competition by Simranjit Kaur at the nationals in December and the CWG bronze medallist will have to up her game for a favourable outcome.

Former youth world champion Ankushita Boro (66kg) has been given a chance over Arundhati Choudhary, who had defeated the Assam boxer in the final of the nationals in December.

Two-time world champion Nikhat Zareen (50kg), Preeti Pawar (54kg), Parveen Hooda (57kg) and Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain (75kg) have already secured their passage to Paris.

This is, however, not the last chance for boxers to qualify for the Paris Games as the last qualifying event will be held in May-June in Thailand.

India had nine boxers competing at the Tokyo Olympics, which yielded one medal — a bronze by Borgohain.

Squad: Women: Jaismine Lamboria (60kg), Ankushita Boro (66kg).

Men: Deepak Bhoria (51kg), Mohammed Hussamudin (57kg), Shiva Thapa (63.5kg), Nishant Dev (71kg), Lakshya Chahar (80kg), Sanjeet (92kg), Narender Berwal ( 92kg).

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