A busy international calendar unfolds for Indian boxing from Thursday with the 70th Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria where Asian Games gold-medallist Amit Panghal (49kg) will be eyeing a second successive top finish.
India will have a 19-strong representation, 10 of them women, in the annual showpiece of the European calendar which gets underway following a draw on Thursday morning.
Amit has not competed after picking up India’s sole boxing gold at the Asiad in Jakarta.
Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Gaurav Solanki (52kg), who won a silver at this event last year, will be aiming for a better finish on the podium this time around.
The 2017 World Championships bronze-medallist Gaurav Bidhuri (56kg), on the other hand, will be seeking a strong return to top-flight competition after recovering from a back injury that kept him out of action for most of the last year.
In the women’s team, former world silver-medallist Sonia Lather (57kg) would be eager to put behind a disappointing 2018, during which she ended medal-less at the Asian Games.
Also there in the squad are former CWG bronze-medallist Pinki Rani (51kg) and world bronze-medallist Lovlina Borgohain (69kg). Missing from the line-up is the celebrated MC Mary Kom, who won a silver in 48kg category in the last edition.
The Indian boxing contingent had clinched its best ever medal haul of 11 in the last edition of Strandja Memorial.
After this, India will compete in the International Boxing Tournament
at Chabahar city of Iran from February 22 to 28.
The team for this tournament features Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Manish Kaushik (60kg) and India Open gold-medallist Sanjeet (91kg).
Close on the heels will be the 38th Gee Bee International Tournament at Helsinki, Finland from March 7 to 10.
The squad for this tournament comprises, among others, former Asian champion and world bronze-medallist Shiva Thapa (60kg), former youth world champion Sachin Siwach (52kg) and former Asian silver-medallist Sumit Sangwan (91kg).
All the three boxers would be eyeing strong performances after a lacklustre 2018 during which they endured mixed results.
The performances of the male boxers in these three tournaments will be crucial to their chances of making the squad for the Asian Championships, which will be held in April.
International Boxing Tournament Strandja at Sofia, Bulgaria from Feb 13-20:
Women: Manju Rani (48Kg), Pinki Rani (51kg), Nikhat Zareen (51kg), Meena Kumari Devi (54kg), Sonia Lather (57kg), Neeraj (60kg), Pwilao Basumatary(64kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Neetu (75kg), Nupur (75kg).
Men: Amit Panghal (49kg), Gaurav Solanki (52kg), Gaurav Bidhuri (56kg), Ankush Dahiya (60kg), Ashish (64kg), Mandeep Jangra (69kg), Ashish Kumar (75kg), Harsh Lakra (81kg), Naman Tanwar (91kg).
International Boxing Tournament at Chabahar city, Iran from Feb 22-28:
Men: Deepak (49kg), Lalitha Prasad Polipalli (52kg), Madan Lal (56kg), Manish Kaushik (60kg), Rohit Tokas (64kg), Duryodhan Singh Negi (69kg), Manjeet Singh Panghal (75kg), Manish Panwar (81kg), Sanjeet (91kg), Satish Kumar (+91kg).
38th Gee Bee International Boxing Tournament at Helsinki, Finland from March, 7 to 10.
Men: Govind Kumar Sahani (49kg), Sachin (52kg), Kavinder Singh Bisht (56kg), Shiva Thapa (60kg), Ankit Khatana (64kg), Dinesh (69kg), Prayag Chauhan (75kg), Sanjay (81kg), Sumit Sangwan (91kg), Naveen Kumar (+91kg).
Women: Preeti Beniwal (60kg), Pooja (69kg).