Accomplished names such as World Championship medallist Shiva Thapa and CWG gold-winner Manoj Kumar will compete in higher weight categories with fresh pool of talent seeking limelight when the much-delayed Men’s National Boxing Championship starts here on Thursday.
Uncovering new talent would without doubt be the primary aim of the event but not to be missed is the fresh start that some established names would be making.
Among the prominent are two-time Olympians Manoj and Shiva, both of whom have decided to go higher.
The 29-year-old Manoj, who would be competing for the Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB), will be making his debut in the welterweight (69kg) after deciding to jump a division post Rio Olympics.
“It was becoming difficult to maintain 64kg and I was picking up injuries in my struggle to maintain weight. So I decided to jump a division,” said Manoj, who defeated Commonwealth Games silver-winner Mandeep Jangra in the Railways’ trials to book his berth for the Nationals.
Another star attraction would be local favourite Shiva, who will be representing Assam after jumping from bantamweight (56kg) to lightweight (60kg). The 22-year-old would be competing in his first event after the opening-round loss at Rio Olympics to eventual gold-medallist Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba.
“I have decided to compete in lightweight because after I felt comfortable in this division after hard training. For now, this is only for the Nationals because there wasn’t much time at hand to push my body for bantamweight,” Shiva said.
“I will take a call on whether to continue in lightweight after the Nationals. I have been training in Pune to get back in shape because this is my first competition after Rio Olympics,” he added.