Making return in the ring after a year’s break, six-time world champion MC Mary Kom and World Championship bronze medallist Manish Kaushik are set to face comparatively easy challenge in their opening matches as the draw unveiled for the Boxam International Tournament scheduled from March 1-7 in Castellon, Spain. Both the Indians were out of action due to injuries and didn’t play any international tournament since Asian Olympic Qualifiers held in March last year. While Kaushik will face Spanish opponent Raddouane Ammari on Tuesday night in the 63kg light welterweight preliminary round, veteran Mary Kom will begin her campaign in the quarter-finals stage where she will take on Italy’s Giordana Sorrentino in the flyweight 51kg. Quarter-finals matches of women’s categories will be played on Wednesday.
Apart from Kaushik, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Mohammed Husamuddin is the other Indian who will be seen in action in the preliminary round late in the night on Tuesday. Husamuddin (57kg) will fight against Spain’s Juan Manuel Torres. Remaining 12 Indians (six men and six women), including Mary Kom, will start in the last-8 stage. A 14-member Indian contingent, including nine Olympic qualified and other top boxers, will be in action at the 35th edition of the tournament which will witness a strong competition in the presence of boxers from 17 countries including top boxing nations like Russia, USA, Italy, Kazakhstan and Spain.
World Championships silver medallist Amit Panghal (52g), CWG gold medallist Vikas Krishnan (69kg) and Satish Kumar, who is the first Indian boxer to qualify for Olympics in the +91kg category, are among the eight Indian men pugilist who are participating, while Mary Kom, Jasmine (57kg), who is making maiden appearance at the senior international circuit, Manisha Moun (57kg), World Championships bronze medallists Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and 2019 Asian champion Pooja Rani (75kg) are the six Indians featuring in the women’s category.