New Delhi, March 23: The highly competitive World Series of Boxing comes to India for the first time, with the National Boxing Academy in Rohtak set to host an explosive contest between the Indian Tigers and the Astana Arlans from Kazakhastan on Saturday evening.
The Indian team’s campaign will be led by Sanjeet (+91 kg), who recently overturned the odds and defeated heavyweights to punch his way to the gold medal in the recently-held India Open in New Delhi. He will be taking on Abilkhair Turlanbekov in a clash of titans. Sanjeet didn’t have such a great start, losing to the star boxer from the Patriot Boxing Team from Russia.
The Astana Arlans, however, begin as overwhelming favourites: they are not only the WSB reigning champions but had also beaten the Indians in the first leg.
The Indian Tigers will hope to ride on strong home support, with vociferous local fans expected to fill up the ring and cheer every Indian pugilist in the five-bout card.
“It is a great opportunity for boxing fans to watch world class boxers fight from close quarters. It will be doubly exciting as Professional Boxing is being held here for the first time,” BFI President Ajay Sing said during a pre-match conference here in Delhi.
The Indian Tigers will be served by India Open silver medalist, 21-year-old Shyam Kumar Kakara (49-kg), who will take on Temitras Zhussopov in a high-octane light flyweight clash. In the 56-kg weight category, 2017 Asian Youth Championships bronze medallist Etash Khan will look to make his debut on the WSB circuit with a bang.
However, it won’t be easy as he is up against veteran Nursultan Koshchegulov of the Astana Arlans. Greenhorns of the team, Ashish Kumar (75-kg) and Dheeraj Singh (64-kg) will look to avoid defeats against 2017 World Championship Silver medalist Abhikov Amankul and Dilmurat Mizhitov respectively, who had the Arlans clinch their historic third title in 2017.
In the opening two clashes, the Indian Tigers (C2) slumped to identical 1-4 losses, first going down to the Arlans and then succumbing to the Patriot Boxing Team in Russia (C1).
They are are now placed third in the Asia Group, with the China Dragons, the fourth and last team in the group, yet to play a match. They begin their campaign a day earlier, on March 23, when they take on the Russian franchisee.
Each team fights with the other in the group on a home and away basis.
Indian Tigers Team Boxers:
49 kg: Shyam Kumar Kakara
56 kg: Etash Khan Muhammed
64 kg: Dheeraj
75 kg: Ashish Kumar
91 kg: Sanjeet
Astana Arlans, Kazakhstan Boxers:
49 kg: ZHUSSUPOV Temirtas
Champion of Kazakhstan in 2017, Champion of Asia 2013, champion of many int. tournaments, part of Champion WSB 2017
56 kg: KOSHCHEGULOV Nursultan
Silver medalist of Kazakhstan 2011, Champion of many int. tournaments, part of champion team of WSB 2015
64 kg: MIZHITOV Dilmurat
Bronze medalist of Kazakhstan 2016, Champion of Almaty City and various other tournaments, part of Champion WSB team 2017
75 kg: AMANKUL Abilkhan
Champion of Kazakhstan in 2016. Bronze medalist of the Asian Championship in Tashkent in 2017. Silver medalist of the World Championship in Hamburg in 2017 and part of the Champion WSB team in 2017
91 kg: TURLANBEKOV Abilkhair
Silver medalist of Kazakhstan in 2015 and many other international tournaments.
About Boxing Federation of India (BFI)
The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) is recognised by AIBA and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India (GOI) as the nodal body responsible for the development and promotion of Olympic-style boxing in India. BFI has hosted seven national tournaments and one major International tournament in last one year, attracting over 300 national and close to 100 international boxers in each of the championships. It has hosted the AIBA 1-star course R&J certification course and seminar as well as the AIBA Cutman courses. BFI, in association with AIBA and SAI, is also setting up a world-class boxing academy at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, New Delhi. It also plans to start 8 satellite academies across the country. BFI has also organised successfully the AIBA World Youth (Women) Boxing Championship for the first time in November 2017 and is set to host the prestigious AIBA Women’s World Championship in 2018 and the AIBA Men’s World Championship in 2021. BFI backed India Tiger’s team is also participating in the AIBA World Super Boxing League for the first time. India is soon to host the home leg for the WSB in India for the very first time.