Boxers Rohit Mor and Akash will kickstart Indian challenge on the opening day as the 2021 AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships begins in Belgrade, Serbia on Monday.
Rohit, who had stunned Mohammad Hussamuddin to clinch gold medal at the Elite Men’s Boxing Nationals last month, will be up against Ecuadorian pugilist Jean Caicedo, who competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, the 21-year-old Akash is drawn to open his campaign against Adem Fukran in the 67kg category.
The draw ceremony took place late on Sunday in which two Indian pugilists—reigning Asian champion Sanjeet (92kg) and Sachin Kumar (80) were awarded with first-round byes in their respective categories.
Deepak Bhoria (51kg) will have a comparatively difficult challenge in his opening round match as he will start off against two-time Asian champion Azat Usenaliev of Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday. In-form Deepak, who claimed senior nationals title last month, had caught many eyeballs earlier this year after defeating Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan at Strandja Memorial Tournament. The 2015 World Championships bronze medallist Shiva Thapa (63.5kg), Govind kumar Sahani (48kg), Varinder Singh (60kg), Nishant Dev (71kg), Sumit (75kg), Lakshya Chahar (86kg) and Narender (+92kg) are the other boxers of the 13-member Indian contingent who will compete at the 21st edition of the prestigious event which will go on till November 6.
The event will witness competition between 650 top boxers from more than 100 participating countries from across the world. It is also the first time in the history, the championships will be played in 13 weight categories as per AIBA’s newly-introduced weight divisions.
The gold medalists of each category will receive $100,000 while silver and bronze medallists will be given $50,000 and $25,000 respectively. Alongside an enormous prize pool of $2.6 million, AIBA will also award the winners with beautifully designed medals, made of solid gold and silver respectively, and belts to commemorate their accomplishments.
In the last edition of the Men’s World Championships, held in 2019, Indian contingent had concluded its campaign with two medals including one silver by Amit Panghal and a bronze claimed by Manish Kaushik.