Boxing nationals for men: Why India’s Tokyo Olympians will stay away

The senior nationals will help pick the Indian squad for the world championships in Belgrade in October.

By Utathya Nag
Picture by Getty Images

Amit Panghal, Manish Kaushik, Vikas Krishan, Ashish Kumar and Satish Kumar – the five Indian men’s boxers who participated at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics - are set to give next week’s boxing national championships a miss.

After a gap year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the senior men’s boxing nationals will be held from September 15 to 22 at the Inspire Institute of Sports in Vijaynagar, Karnataka.

While Vikas Krishan, Ashish Kumar and Satish Kumar have withdrawn due to injuries, there has been no official communication from Amit Panghal and Manish Kaushik’s camp about participation in the nationals.

However, PTI, quoting a source close to the two boxers, say that both boxers may skip the senior nationals due to lack of practice after coming back from Tokyo.

Vikas Krishan had pulled out earlier after sustaining a shoulder injury at Tokyo. He has undergone surgery and is expected to be out of action till November.

Ashish Kumar opted to skip the event after doctors advised him to rest to recuperate from injuries in both his wrists.

Satish Kumar, too, was forced to miss the tournament after a cut over his right eye got infected. The super heavyweight (+91kg) boxer sustained the cut during his opening bout against Jamaica's Ricardo Brown at Tokyo. 

Despite seven stitches, Satish Kumar fought valiantly in the quarter-finals but eventually lost out to Uzbekistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov – the eventual gold medallist.

“There was severe swelling because of that infection and I have only recently started recovering from it. I have started light training but it wouldn't be enough for the nationals,” Satish Kumar said.

The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) had earlier stated that the winners from the nationals will be selected in the Indian team for this year’s boxing world championships, scheduled in Belgrade from October 26.

This year’s men’s nationals will also see head guards return. The protective gear was discontinued in men's events held by the Olympics and the International Boxing Association (AIBA) after 2013.