Curtain Raiser of the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in New Delhi, India
India is all set to host the 10th edition of the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship in New Delhi at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex which hosted the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
A record number 277 boxers will strive for glory from 62 Nations to stake a place for the World title in ten weight divisions spread across ten days. Russia has traditionally been a great boxing nation in the history of the Championships. They have garnered 53 medals - 21 Gold, ten Silver, and 22 Bronze.
China is second with 13 Golds, 11 Silvers and 16 Bronze with 40. India occupies the third spot with eight Golds, Six Silvers and 14 Bronze for a tally of 28 medals.
Let us look at the boxers who would pose a challenge for the title from the respective weight categories.
Women's Light Fly (45-48 kg)
Five-time World Champion Chungneijang Mary Kom Hmangte heads the Indian challenge in the Women’s Light Fly division. Mary Kom would meet the winner of the bout between American Jazzelle Bobadilla and Aigerim Kassenayeva of Kazakhstan after receiving a bye in the first round.
The veteran Manipuri Boxer is a member of the Rajya Sabha and is also the National observer for Boxing in India. She added an Olympic Bronze to her valuable list of collections in London 2012.
Her main competitor would be World number two Ekaterina Paltceva of Russia who is the reigning European Champion. Sevda Asenova of Bulgaria had defeated Mary Kom at the Strandja Women’s Memorial Tournament this year and is looking to re-write history after facing a first-round exit in the 2016 Championships. North Korean Kim Hyang Mi, who lost out to Mary Kom in the 2017 Asian Championships, is also in the fray.
Women's Fly (48-51kg)
Forty-six boxers compete in the Women’s Fly division with European Champion Svetlana Soluianova from Russia starting as the firm favourite for the crown. Asian Games Silver medalist Pang Chol Mhi from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and European Silver medalist Buse Naz Cakiroglu of Turkey are also in the fray.
Pinki Jangra Rani leads the Indian hopes in the Women‘s Fly after finishing second in the Ahmet Comert Women‘s Tournament in Turkey. She lost to Buse Naz Cakiroglu in the finals. She would meet Armenian Anush Grigoryan in the second round after receiving a first-round bye. 2016 Bronze medalist Zhaina Shekerbekova of Kazakhstan is also in the fray.
Women's Bantam (54kg)
World Number One and 2016 silver medalist Stoyka Zhelyazkova Petrova of Bulgaria leads the challenge in the Bantamweight. She is in red-hot form picking up three Golds in various International tournaments this year.
Her substantial threat comes from World number two and Asian Games Bronze medalist Lin Yu-Ting of Taipei. 2016 Bronze medalist Christina Cruz and World number five Viktoriia Kuleshova are the other competitors in the fray. Bangalore girl Manisha Moun spearheads the Indian challenge and will meet Christina Cruz from America in her first round bout.
Women's Feather (54-57kg)
World number one and Asian Games Gold medalist Junhua Yin from China is the hot favorite for the title. Her main opposition will be from reigning European Champion Stanimira Petrova of Bulgaria. Petrova is in a rich vein of form this season having claimed three Golds in International Championships.
Alessia Mesiano of Italy would look to defend her Featherweight title in India. There is also a possibility of a rematch of 2016 final with Sonia Lather of India. World number three Sonia received a bye in the first round and would meet the winner of Ramla Ali of Somalia and Doaa Toujani of Morocco.
Women's Light (57-60kg)
The Women’s Light division sees the top three in the World contesting it out for the prestigious title. 2016 Olympic and World Bronze medalist Mira Potkonen of Finland, Yeonij Oh of Korea and 2016 Olympic Bronze and World Silver medalist Anastasiia Beliakova from Russia.
Yeonij Oh would want to make amends with an impressive performance this year after bowing out in the first round of the 2016 edition. Sarita Devi Laishram leads the Indian challenge. She lost in the round of 32 in the 2016 Championships. After given a first-round bye, she would face the winner of Huswatun Hasanah of Indonesia and Sandra Diana Brugger from Switzerland.
Women's Light Welter (64kg)
World number one and reigning European champion Melis Nezhdetova Yonuzova from Bulgaria remains the firm favourite for the title. Her formidable challenge would come from World number two Sema Galiskan of Turkey who lost two finals this year to Yonuzova and Simarnajit in the lead up to the Championships. The gangly Mariia Bova Badulina of Ukraine who secured a third-place finish in the European Championships is also in the fray.
Ekaterina Dynnik of Russia would pose a serious challenge for the title under the guidance of her coach and boxing idol Nikolay Fedorchenko. Simranjit Kaur Baath from Chakar, Punjab heads the Indian challenge. Simranjit is on a high after capturing the title at the Ahmet Comert Women’s Tournament defeating Sema Galiskan. She will face American Amelia Moore in her first round encounter.
Women's Welter (64-69kg)
World number one and 2016 Bronze medalist Elina Gustafsson from Finland, World number five and 2016 Bronze medalist Nadine Apetz of Germany, 2016 Silver medalist Gu Hong from China and World number two Iaroslava Iakushina of Russia are part of the fray in a competitive Welterweight division. Gu Hong is in a rich vein of form after overcoming Iakushina in the Strandja Women’s Memorial Tournament.
Elina Gustafsson is on a high after defeating Nadine Apetz at the European Championships and Iakushina at the Feliks Stamm Memorial Tournament this year. Indian challenge comes from World number ten Lovlina Borgohain. She would meet either Atheyna Bylon of Panama or Yuliia Stoiko of Ukraine after receiving a bye in the first round.
Women's Middle (69-75kg)
Headed by World number one and 2016 Olympic and World Silver medalist Nouchka Mireille Fontijn of Netherlands, the Women’s middle division also comprises World number two and Olympic Bronze medalist Qian Li of China. Qian Li suffered a quarter-final loss in the 2016 edition to Savannah Marshall of Great Britain. The world number three Sujin Seon of South Korea and world number four Mariya Borutsa of Ukraine are also in the fray.
Saweety Boora heads the Indian challenge as she squares off against the winner of Sujin Seon from Korea and Elzbieta Wojcik of Poland after a bye in the first. Nouchka Mireille Fontijn looks to be in excellent shape after securing four title wins this year.
Women's Light Heavy (81kg)
World number two and 2016 Bronze medalist Elif Guneri from Turkey would look to strike Gold in the Light Heavy division at the World Championships. She will face formidable opposition from World number one Maria Urakova of Russia and World number three Jessica Paola Caicedo Sinisterra from Colombia.
Bhagyabati Kachari would lead the Indian challenge teeing off against Irina-Nicoletta Schonberger of Germany. The Assamese boxer had an impressive 2018 with a victory at the Ahmet Comert Women‘s Tournament and finished third in the Strandja Women‘s Memorial Tournament.
Women's Heavy (+81kg)
Defending World Champion Lazzat Kungeibayeva of Kazakhstan faces an arduous task of defending her title in an established field which includes the reigning World number one Danielle Perkins from the United States, World number two Guzal Ismatova of Uzbekistan, World number three Flavia Severin of Italy and the 2016 Bronze medalist Sennur Demir of Turkey.
Ismatova would look to make amends after her first round defeat at the 2016 edition to Wang Shijin of China. Seema Poonia heads the Indian challenge after losing to eventual Champion Lazzat Kungeibayeva in the quarter-finals of the 2016 edition. She will meet Xiaoli Yang of China in the quarter-finals after receiving a bye in the first round.
Star Sports is broadcasting the 10th edition of the Championship for the Indian viewers.
AIBA would stream the event live on their official website.