Mumbai: Fisticuff fans of Mumbai would have the rare chance to witness the cream of Indian boxing, barring a few, in the fourth Super Cup Inter-Zonal National Boxing Championships next week.
The January 13-17 event, promoted by the Maharashtra Boxing Association, would see the Indian squad members for the forthcoming Dhaka SAF Games taking part in the competition to be held at the suburban Andheri Sports Complex and the SPG in central Mumbai, it was announced at a media conference here.
The prime attraction would be Suranjoy Singh, the 22-year-old Manipuri pugilist, who was declared the best boxer in the President’s Cup Inter-Continental event held at Baku, Azerbaijan in December last year.
The Navy boxer, who would lead the country’s challenge in the SAF Games beginning January 29, would be one of the 176 glovemen representing 16 states and units in the championship, MBA Secretary-General and AIBA Youth Commission secretary Jay Kowli said.
However, missing from the fray would be two star boxers – Beijing Olympic bronze medalist Vijender Singh and quarter finalist Akhil Kumar – who are recuperating from injuries and opted for rest keeping in mind the March 10-18 Commonwealth Championships in Delhi, he said.
“But both Vijender and Akhil would be present for the finals,” he added.
The meet, the first boxing event to be held at the SPG which would host the semi-final and final bouts on January 16 and 17, would see AIBA’s (international boxing body’s) computerised scoring being used, Kowli said.
The championship offers the ideal warm-up to the seven-member SAF Games squad and provides chief coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu the chance to gauge their match fitness for the Dhaka event.
“The entire camp is being shifted to Mumbai’s Andheri complex,” Kowli informed.
Kowli said eleven weight classes would be contested for, with super heavy being the category missing from the fray, and hoped the tournament would give a major boost to boxing in and around the famous Shivaji Park, better known as a nursery of cricket.
The teams that have qualified for the tournament are the six zonal (North, North East, Central, East, West and South) winners and runners-up along with Services, Railways, IBF President’s XI and hosts Maharashtra.
“The next Super Cup would be in Nagpur and then the tournament would be taken out of Maharashtra to be held in other centres,” Kowli declared.