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Indian Tigers to take on Astana Arlans in World Series of Boxing

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Stage is set for the highly competitive World Series of Boxing in India for the first time, as the explosive contest between the Indian Tigers and the Astana Arlans from Kazakhstan will be held at the National Boxing Academy in Rohtak (Haryana) on Saturday evening.

The Indian team’s campaign will be led by Sanjeet (+91 kg), who recently overturned the odds and defeated heavyweights to punch his way to the gold medal in the recently-held India Open in New Delhi. He will be taking on Abilkhair Turlanbekov in a clash of titans. Sanjeet didn’t have such a great start, losing to the star boxer from the Patriot Boxing Team from Russia.

The Astana Arlans, however, begin as overwhelming favourites. They are not only the WSB reigning champions but had also beaten the Indians in the first leg.

The Indian Tigers will hope to ride on strong home support, with vociferous local fans expected to fill up the ring and cheer every Indian pugilist in the five-bout card.

“It is a great opportunity for boxing fans to watch world class boxers fight from close quarters. It will be doubly exciting as Professional Boxing is being held here for the first time,” BFI President Ajay Sing said during a pre-match conference here in Delhi.

The Indian Tigers will be served by India Open silver medalist, 21-year-old Shyam Kumar Kakara (49-kg), who will take on Temitras Zhussopov in a high-octane light flyweight clash.

In the 56-kg weight category, 2017 Asian Youth Championships bronze medallist Etash Khan will look to make his debut on the WSB circuit with a bang.

However, it won’t be easy as he is up against veteran Nursultan Koshchegulov of the Astana Arlans. Greenhorns of the team, Ashish Kumar (75-kg) and Dheeraj Singh (64-kg) will look to avoid defeats against 2017 World Championship Silver medalist Abhikov Amankul and Dilmurat Mizhitov respectively, who had the Arlans clinch their historic third title in 2017.

In the opening two clashes, the Indian Tigers (C2) slumped to identical 1-4 losses, first going down to the Arlans and then succumbing to the Patriot Boxing Team in Russia (C1).

They are now placed third in the Asia Group, with the China Dragons, the fourth and last team in the group, yet to play a match. They begin their campaign a day earlier, on March 23, when they take on the   Russian franchisee.

Each team fights with the other in the group on a home and away basis.

Indian Tigers:

49 kg: Shyam Kumar Kakara,56 kg: Etash Khan Muhammed,64 kg: Dheeraj, 75 kg: Ashish Kumar

91 kg: Sanjeet

Astana Arlans:

49 kg: ZHUSSUPOV Temirtas,56 kg: KOSHCHEGULOV Nursultan,64 kg: MIZHITOV Dilmurat

75 kg: AMANKUL Abilkhan,91 kg: TURLANBEKOV Abilkhair