Boxers set for World Championships` trial from Tuesday
Patiala: One delay and many speculations later, Indian boxers will fight it out for a place in the national team for the World Championships when the three-day trials start here from Tuesday.
With the Indian Boxing Federation suspended, they would not get to compete under the country`s flag but the boxers would nonetheless fight it out for a spot in the national team of 10 which would be sent to Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The Championships, where India have won two bronze medals -- in 2009 and 2011, would be held from October 11 to 27 in Almaty.
India`s participation hinges on the International Boxing Association`s (AIBA) green signal as the world body is clearing the country`s schedule on a tournament-to-tournament basis due to the IBF`s provisional suspension.
The trials starting Tuesday were initially scheduled from August 16 to 18 but had to be postponed, the reasons for which were never explained clearly by the IBF.
Before that could be figured out, star boxer Vijender Singh went on a short leave prompting speculation that the pugilist who brought home the first World Championships medal may altogether skip the trials.
But that rumour was put to rest by the man himself, who has returned to the city today, ready to take the ring from Tuesday after attending to "some personal issues".
"I am well-prepared for the trials and hopefully, I would be in the team," said the boxer, who was forced into a brief sabbatical from the ring after getting embroiled in a drug scandal in which his name was eventually cleared.
His return would be keenly watched even as another comeback unfolds in the 52kg division.
Suranjoy Singh (52kg), who has been laid low by a knee injury after dominating the ring with eight back-to-back gold medals between 2010-11, would be back in the ring for perhaps his last shot at a World Championships medal.
Also in fray is former Asian Championships silver-medallist Thokchom Nanao Singh (49kg) but he faces some very stiff competition from the likes of rising star L Devendro Singh.
Devendro has been in top form ever since making a splash at the London Olympics last year, where he fought his way to the quarterfinals. He followed that up with a silver medal at the Asian Championships this year.
The 56kg category seems taken as Shiva Thapa (56kg) has been in rampaging form. The 19-year-old was India`s lone gold-medallist at the Asian Championships this year.
Vijender`s category, meanwhile, remains a mystery as he has not yet revealed whether it would be 75kg or 81kg. But it is learnt, he would most likely to stick to 75kg, a division in which he has been a former world number one.
Olympian Sumit Sangwan starts as the favourite for the 81kg category, while the heavier divisions, 91kg and +91kg, would be contested hard.