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Home Boxing Manoj Kumar set for comeback at men's Elite Boxing championship

Manoj Kumar set for comeback at men’s Elite Boxing championship

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Himachal Pradesh has won the hosting rights of the 4th Elite Senior National Men’s Boxing Championship that will be held at Shimla from October 4-10. It may be noted that Himachal Pradesh along with Delhi was in the fray to host the 2019 Senior National Men’s Boxing Championship, but in the end, it was the former who earned the right to host the event considered to be the country’s biggest domestic boxing event. The 2019 Senior National Men’s Boxing Championship is expected to mark the comeback of vastly experienced welterweight (69-kg) boxer Manoj Kumar, who is coming off a long injury lay-off – he had to give the 2018 senior nationals a miss owing to a prolonged hip injury and had won the gold in the 2016 and 2017 senior nationals in Vishakapatnam and Guwahati. But it will not be easy for Manoj as the 69-kg weight category has been witnessing intense competition for places in his nearly one-year absence from the competitive ring.

Boxer Manoj Kumar in action during the quarterfinals of the Second Elite Men’s National Boxing Championship in Visakhapatnam on October 27, 2017. (Photo: IANS)

The 4th Elite Men’s Senior National Boxing Championship will be conducted across ten weight categories – Light Flyweight (46-49-kg), Flyweight (52-kg), Bantamweight (56-kg), Middleweight (60-kg), Light Welterweight (64-kg) Welterweight (69-kg), Middleweight (75-kg), Light Heavyweight (81-kg), Heavyweight (91-kg) and Super Heavyweight (+91-kg).  Duryodhan Singh Negi is emerging as a strong contender in the 69-kg category and is representing the country at the upcoming AIBA 2019 World Championships – he had a won a bronze medal at the recent President’s Cup in Kazakhstan – Dinesh Dagar and Ashish are also fierce competitors in the 69-kg category.  

Middleweight boxer Manish Kaushik, who will represent India in the 63-kg category in the upcoming AIBA 2019 World Championships, will be looking to complete a hat-trick of gold medals in the Senior Nationals having won the gold medals in the 2017 and 2018 editions. Shiva Thapa who missed the 2019 World Championship berth after going down to Manish Kaushik in the 60-kg category World Championship trials, will be eagerly awaiting the Senior Nationals to shore up his chances of making the middleweight berth for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. ​The featherweight category (57-kg) is also expected to witness a high dose of exciting boxing with Asian Championship silver medallist Kavinder Singh Bisht competing against the likes of 2017 World Championship bronze medallist Gaurav Bhiduri and 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Mohammed Hussamuddin. 

Boxer Shiva Thapa in action during the 2nd Elite Men’s National Boxing Championship in Visakhapatnam on October 30, 2017. (Photo: IANS)

Himachal Pradesh Boxing Association secretary-general Shandil Surendra said the state is gearing up to host the 2019 Senior National Men’s Boxing Championship. “We are happy to host the 2019 Senior Men’s Nationals and are expecting around 350 pugilists to feature in the senior nationals. We will be finalising the venue for the event over the next ten days or so. We are zeroing in on a few venue options in and around Shimla and hopefully, everything will be finalised by the end of this month. Like every senior nationals, this time around the championship will be an opportunity for boxers across the length and breadth of the country to make an impression in the ring.” 

It may be recalled that the Boxing Federation of India had conducted the 3rd Elite Men’s Senior National Boxing Championship at the Army Sports Institute (ASI) in Pune, where Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) held sway over the event winning eight of the ten gold medals on offer, while Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) bagged the other two gold medals – the meet witnessed cut-throat rivalry between Services and Railway boxers – as in well documented most of our Indian boxers are either employed with Services and Indian Railways. The 3rd Elite Men’s Senior National Boxing Championship also saw India’s ace boxer Satish Kumar complete a hat-trick of gold medal wins in the super heavyweight category (+91-kg). Services Sports Control Board had also dominated the 2nd Elite Men’s Senior National Boxing Championship and first Elite Men’s Senior National Boxing Championship held at Vishakapatnam and Guwahati respectively.

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