India led by Nikhat Zareen look to pack a ‘golden punch’, bolster tally

New Delhi: A 13-member Indian boxing contingent, led by world champion Nikhat Zareen, will look to pack a punch at the Asian Games, to be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8.

The boxing events at the Asian Games are scheduled to start on September 24.

For the record, India have won 57 medals in boxing at the Asian Games so far, making it the fourth most triumphant sport for India at the event. At Jakarta in 2018, Indian pugilists bagged three medals.

In this year’s edition, the boxers will also have the opportunity to bag quotas for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

While the entire Indian squad looks competitive, Nishant Dev, Nikhat Zareen and Deepak Bhoria are favourites to bag gold.

Nikhat Zareen

She is undoubtedly India’s best boxer at the moment. The Hyderabad-based southpaw stormed into the world stage with a gold in the Strandja Memorial tournament in 2021, and then followed up with another gold at the same competition the following year.

She was crowned the world champion before winning the gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Zareen continued her formidable run of form, winning the 2023 World Championships title at home as well. She will look to win her maiden gold at the Asian Games.

Nishant Dev

The Karnal-based boxer, Nishant Dev won the bronze in men’s 71Kg at the World Championships in 2023. He picked up boxing back in 2012, after being inspired by his uncle, who also was a professional boxer. The 22-year-old pugilist will be looking to impress in Hangzhou.

Deepak Bhoria

Deepak Bhoria made headlines in 2021 when he defeated 2016 Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan at the Strandja Memorial tournament, where he clinched the silver.

The Haryana boxer also won the silver at the Asian Boxing Championships back in 2019. According to former boxers, the 26-year-old is a good prospect who can punch his way to gold at the Asia Games.

One can also not ignore Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain though she faces a tough challenge.The 2023 world champion’s middleweight category features stiff Chinese competition, who will have home advantage.

Indian team

Women’s: Nikhat Zareen (50kg), Preeti Pawar (54kg), Parveen Hooda (57kg), Jaismine Lamboria (60kg), Arundhati Chaudhary (66kg), Lovlina Borgohain (75kg)

Men’s: Deepak Bhoria (51kg), Sachin Siwach (57kg), Shiva Thapa (63.5kg), Nishant Dev (71kg), Lakshya Chahar (80kg), Sanjeet (92kg), Narender Berwal (+92kg)



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