Olympics Begin In
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.


Indian Boxing in 2023: Rise of Women boxers with four world champions

Indian women boxers had a fine year while the male boxers endured setbacks with no Olympic quota places won.

Indian Boxing in 2023: Rise of Women boxers with four world champions

Deepanshu Jain

Updated: 31 Dec 2023 1:17 PM GMT

In 2023, Indian female boxers marked a remarkable year, with Nikhat Zareen building on her previous successes by securing yet another world championship title. Additionally, emerging talent Nitu Ghanghas, Lovlina Borgohain, and Saweety Boora clinched their maiden world titles, adding to the nation's boxing triumphs.

This year witnessed a notable shift in the boxing landscape for India, transitioning from seasoned boxers to a new wave of rising stars. Young talents such as Nitu Ghanghas, Deepak Bhoria, and Nishant Dev seized the spotlight, while experienced campaigners like Shiva Thapa, Mary Kom, and Amit Panghal took a step back from the competitive circuit.

The pivotal tournaments of the year for the Indian boxing contingent included the Asian Games, along with the men's and women's world championships. India demonstrated commendable performances across these events, securing four gold medals at the women's world championships and three bronze medals at the men's championships. The Asian Games campaign concluded with an impressive tally of five medals for the Indian boxing team.

Four World Champions

India's crowning achievement of the year unfolded at the World Women Boxing Championships 2023, where the nation clinched the top spot in the medal tally with a remarkable haul of four gold medals, all achieved on home turf. This notable feat marked only the second instance in Indian boxing history, the first being in 2006, when the country secured four gold medals in a single tournament.

Nikhat Zareen exhibited exceptional prowess by securing her back-to-back world title, building on her previous gold medal triumph in the women's 50 KG category. In a breakthrough performance, 23-year-old Nitu Ghanghas claimed her inaugural world championships medal, clinching gold in the women's 48 KG category.

Tokyo Olympic medalist Lovlina Borgohain reached a significant milestone by advancing to her maiden world championships final and emerging victorious with her first-ever gold in the event. Meanwhile, veteran boxer Saweety Boora, making a compelling comeback after a hiatus of nine years, secured her second world championship medal, capturing gold in the women's 81 Kg category. This collective achievement showcased the depth and diversity of talent within the Indian women's boxing contingent.

A rising star in men's boxing

Indian men's boxing going through a tough transition phase after the likes of Amit Panghal, and Shiva Thapa struggled with form and fitness. This has given a new opportunity to youngsters like Deepak Bhoria, Sachin Siwach, and Nishant Dev to rise to the occasion.

Nishant Dev and Deepak Bhoria proved that after winning the bronze medal at the 2023 World Men's Boxing Championship in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Deepak Bhoria who is said to be a deputy of Amit in the flyweight category has slowly cemented his place in this category while Nishant Dev and Sachin Siwach have shown some good showing at the international events.

The International Boxing Association has reduced the number of available spots in men's boxing at the Paris Olympics which has increased a lot of competition among male boxers and winning a quota has become even tougher than ever.

Fall of Shiva Thapa

Shiva Thapa, a seasoned stalwart in Indian boxing, faced a challenging year with less favorable outcomes. Despite being a six-time Asian medalist, his 2023 performances included two first-round losses in key competitions, namely the Asian Games and the World Championships.

During the Asian Games, Shiva encountered a setback in the round of 16, experiencing a unanimous decision loss to the relatively unknown Askat Kultaev from Kyrgyzstan. Despite being a frontrunner for the gold medal in his category, Shiva fell short in this significant event, which also served as a quota event for boxing.

Similarly, at the World Championships, Shiva faced a round of 32 defeat against the 21-year-old Yuri Falcão of Brazil. The setbacks in both competitions mark a challenging phase for Shiva Thapa, who now eyes a comeback in the upcoming year. The stakes are particularly high considering the crucial Olympic year on the horizon, compounded by the heightened competition in his weight category. Shiva remains determined to bounce back and make a significant impact in the pivotal year ahead.

Paris Olympic hopes

India has successfully secured four boxing quotas for the upcoming Paris Olympics during the Asian Games held in Hangzhou, China. Notably, all four quotas were achieved in the women's boxing categories, with Nikhat Zareen in the 50 Kg class, Preeti Pawar in the 54 Kg class, Parveen Hooda in the 57 Kg class, and Lovlina Borgohain in the 75 Kg class.

Comparatively, India had secured nine quotas in the previous Tokyo Olympics, and the nation is poised to maintain a similar representation this time as well. Male boxers and participants in the remaining two women's categories still have two more opportunities to secure their quotas through the final qualification tournament scheduled for February-March 2024.

Nikhat Zareen, having clinched two consecutive world titles, is poised to pursue her first Olympic medal next year and is considered a strong contender. Similarly, Lovlina Borgohain aims to enhance the hue of her Olympic medal, adding to the anticipation surrounding India's performance in the upcoming Games.

Next Story