After a quadruple gold-winning IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships at home in March, attention must now shift to the IBA Men’s World Boxing Championships in Tashkent. India will be sending a largely young 13-member squad for the tournament scheduled from April 30 to May 14.

The Indian men’s boxing contingent was in a 12-day-long multi-nation training in the host country. Although young, the squad is being headlined by the very experienced Shiva Thapa.

But one of the biggest talking points remains the absence of Amit Panghal, who had a good comeback at the Commonwealth Games, but seems to have lost out to the promising Deepak Bhoria in the 51kg flyweight category. Under the new selection policy in place, the latter trumped him by 731 points in comparison to Panghal’s 682 points.

The squad created quite the stir when the squad for the Women’s World Championships was announced and while the Men’s Championships seemed to have been smooth in that regard, they are under a different kind of pressure. With results lacking in major tournaments off-late, CA Kuttappa’s men need a good showing in Tashkent.

Thapa, for instance, couldn’t take the ring due to fever and as a result, gave a walkover to his opponent Malik Hasanov of Azerbaijan in the pre quarter-finals at the Strandja Memorial. He clinched silver after suffering an injury in final at the ASBC Asian Elite Boxing C’ships in November. And there was disappointment, when his campaign came to an early end in CWG where he lost to Scotland’s Reese Lynch and lost by a 4:1 verdict in the Round of 16 contest.

Similarly, National Champion Sumit Kundu was outclassed by his Australia’s Callum Peters at the CWG. Tokyo Olympian and 2019 Asian Championships silver medallist Ashish Chaudhary had one of the most memorable bouts ever in Birmingham but lost to a close decision against England’s Aaron Bowen in the quarter-final. He will be determined to get a medal this time around.

A lot of expectations rest on Deepak as he announced himself on the global stage in 2021 after defeating 2016 Rio Olympic gold medallist and 2019 World Champion Shakhobidin Zoirov at the Strandja Memorial tournament.

Here’s a look at the squad:

Name: Govind Kumar Sahani (48 kg)

Date of Birth: 05/08/1997

Hometown: Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh

Stance: Orthodox

Boxing wasn’t always Govind Sahani’s first love. The pugilist from Gorakhpur wanted to achieve big things in karate before he shifted his interest towards boxing.

He moved to the sports hostel in Meerut in 2011, where his basic needs were being taken care of and he didn’t have to ask money from his mother.

Recently, he won a silver medal at the Strandja Memorial Boxing tournament in Bulgaria. The pugilist will be playing in his second World Championships in the upcoming tournament and will be looking to be among the medal winners.

Recent achievements:

2023 - Silver medal at 74th Strandja Memorial Boxing tournament, Bulgaria

2023 - Gold medal at 6th Senior National Boxing Championships, Hisar

2022 - Gold medal at Thailand Open International boxing tournament

Name: Deepak Kumar (51Kg)

Date of Birth: 09/06/1997

Hometown: Hisar, Haryana

Stance: Orthodox

In 2008, when Deepak was just an 11-year-old he started boxing at the insistence of his uncle. His dreams of becoming a boxer were almost over due to family constraints, but his coach, Rajesh Sheoran helped him back into the ring. In 2011, Deepak suffered a career-threatening fracture to his right hand that troubled him for almost two years before he underwent surgery.

Finally, in 2016, there was some silver lining in the dark clouds. He joined Madras Engineering Group, Bangalore, and later that year, he also was selected by the Army Sports Institute, Pune. Since then, he has never looked back. His financial crisis was taken care of and his career saw an upswing. Deepak won a gold medal at 2018 Senior National Championship and in 2019 he won a gold medal at the Makran Cup on international debut.

Deepak, who has been one of the most improved and developed boxers in recent times.

Recent achievements:

2023 - Gold at National Championships, Hisar

Name: Sachin (54kg)

Date of Birth: 25/11/2002

Hometown: Mitathal, Bhiwani

Stance: Southpaw

Sachin’s journey to the world of Boxing was through his uncle’s support, who is also a sportsman. His desire to become a boxer and represent India turned into reality when he was introduced to a boxing coach and then there was no looking back as he trained at the Sports Authority of India to become one of the best upcoming boxers in the country. Sachin rose to prominence in 2021 when he won a gold medal at the World Youth Championships in Poland.

Recent achievements

2023 - Bronze medal at Strandja Memorial, Bulgaria

2023 - Gold medal at National Championships, Hisar

2022 - Bronze medal at Elorda Cup, Nur-sultan, Kazakhstan

Name: Mohammed Hussamuddin (57Kg)

Date of Birth: 12/04/1994

Hometown: Nizamabad, Telangana

Stance: Southpaw

Hailing from a family of boxers, Mohammed Hussamuddin is the youngest of six brothers, four of whom are seriously entrenched in the sport. Hussamuddin, whose role model is Vasyl Lomachenko, two-time Olympic Champion, was afraid to don the gloves until his father and coach, Mohammad Shamsuddin, got him to shed that fear and taught him the art of boxing at the Collectorate grounds in Nizamabad, north Telangana.

One of the most experienced campaigners in the squad, Hussamuddin will be looking to make it count at his debut World Championships.

Recent achievements:

2023 - Gold at Senior Nationals, Hisar

2022 - Bronze at Asian Championships, Jordan

2022 - Bronze at Commonwealth Games, Birmingham

Name: Varinder (60kg)

Date of Birth: 17/05/1997

Place of birth: Patiala

Style: Southpaw

Varinder, who was initially drawn towards cricket, was hand-held by his father, a proud policeman, to apply his skills in the individual sport of Boxing.

Varinder started training in 2010, but it was only after his father passed away in 2012, he became more serious about the sport to fulfil his father’s dream. He kept the fight alive to keep following his father’s dream and continued training under his coach Harpreet Singh Hundal.

An employee of Indian Railways, Varinder is a huge fan of Floyd Mayweather.

Recent chievements:

2023 - Gold medal at National Championships, Hisar

File image of Shiva Thapa

Name: Shiva Thapa (63.5 Kg)

Date of Birth: 08/12/1993

Place of Birth: Guwahati, Assam

Stance: Orthodox

Youngest amongst six siblings, Shiva carried boxing in his blood. His brother was a silver medallist boxer at the 33rd Guwahati Nationals. He won a bronze medal at the 2015 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Two-time Olympian Thapa continued his good work with two bronze medals in 2018, one in India Open International and one at the Ulaanbaatar Cup. Thapa started 2019 with a silver medal from the Gee Bee Boxing Tournament.

He created history last year when he became the first male pugilist to win six Asian Championships medals when he claimed silver medal in Jordan. The veteran will be keen to add another World Championships medal to his belt in coming weeks.

Recent achievements

2023 - Gold medal at National Championships, Hisar

2022 - Silver medal at Asian Championships, Jordan

Name: Akash Sangwan (67 kg)

Date of Birth: 20/02/2000

Hometown: Hisar, Haryana

Stance: Southpaw

Growing up in the same neighbourhood as Olympian Boxer Jai Bhagwan in Hisar, Akash Sangwan was introduced to boxing at a very early age. He started learning the basic skills in 2010 at the Universal Boxing Academy and was a schoolmate of Deepak, who will also represent India at this event.

In 2021, He won the gold medal at Elite National Championships in Bellary and booked his ticket for the World Championships in Serbia. It was his first International tournament at the elite level. He clinched the gold medal at the National Boxing Championship in Hisar.

Recent achievements:

2023 – Gold medal at 6th Elite Men’s National Boxing Championship

2022 – Gold medal at 36th National Games

Name: Nishant Dev (71 kg)

Date of Birth: 23/12/2000

Hometown: Karnal, Haryana

Stance: Southpaw

Nishant Dev burst onto the scene when he reached the quarter-finals of the Elite World Boxing Championship in 2021 in his debut International tournament. It was just a glimpse of the talent that Nishant Dev possesses.

Hailing from Haryana’s Karnal district, Nishant started boxing in 2012, after getting inspired by his uncle who was a professional boxer.

In 2021, he grabbed the gold medal at the National Championships and went on to represent India at the World Championships. It was the first International tournament of his career as before that, he had not even competed at Junior or Youth level internationally. Despite limited training due to rehab from an injury, he came back strongly to retain his title at the National Boxing Championships in Hisar in January 2023.

Fitter, stronger and wiser, Nishant, who is a fan of Floyd Mayweather, is looking to be among the medal winners at his second World Championships.

Recent achievements:

2023 – Gold medal at 6th Elite Men’s National Boxing Championship

Name: Sumit Kundu (75kg)

Date of birth: 01/11/2002

Place of birth: Dhakal Village, Jind

Style: Orthodox

From working as a security guard in a school to securing his ticket for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Sumit Kundu’s journey has been full of challenges. The 19-year-old boxer from Dhakal village in Haryana, lost his father when he was very young. And after father’s death, Sumit’s mother started doing odd tailoring jobs in order to look after the family.

Sumit started boxing in 2013. But to see his family going through a very tough phase, he decided to leave the sport and took up a guard’s job in a school. While the financial struggles were forcing him to give up on boxing, elders from the village came to his support and assured him of financial help.

Sumit has not looked back since. One of his biggest wins came in the Strandja Memorial 2021 when he upstaged World Championships silver medallist Dzhambulat Bizhamov.

One of the most promising Indian boxers, Sumit is ready for his second World Championships.

Recent achievements:

2023 - Gold medal at National Championships, Hisar

2022 - Gold medal at Thailand Open

Ashish Kumar Chaudhary is India's 80kg | BFI

Name: Ashish Kumar (80kg)

Date of birth: 18/07/1994

Place of birth: Sundarnagar, Himachal Pradesh

Style: Orthodox

Born into the family of boxers, it was watching his national medallist cousin train that inspired the young Ashish Kumar to enter the ring. Ashish started flourishing at the junior level soon after and got a gold medal at a junior state competition in 2008-09.

The 28-year-old, who aspires to be an Olympic medallist came to limelight when he captured a silver at the Asian Boxing Championships in 2019. It also made him the first medallist from Himachal Pradesh at this prestigious tournament. A month before the Olympic qualifiers in Jordan in March 2020, Ashish faced a major setback as he lost his Father. He remained focused despite the personal loss and gave his best to qualify for the Olympics and fulfill his Father’s dream.

Ashish Kumar Chaudhary is on a quest to fulfill his father’s dream

Recent achievements:

2022 - Silver at Thailand Open

Name: Harsh Choudhary (86 kg)

Date of Birth: 19/05/2002

Hometown: Jaipur, Rajasthan

Stance: Orthodox

Sports is in Harsh’s blood as his father was a national-level Kabaddi player and enrolled his son in the boxing academy. After winning a medal at the national level in 2017, he moved to SAI, Hisar the following year to improve his game under coach Mohinder Singh Daka. He will feature in his first senior International tournament in Tashkent.

Recent achievements:

2023 - Silver medal at 6th Elite Men’s national boxing championship

Name: Naveen Kumar (92 kg)

Date of Birth: 02/09/1993

Hometown: Charkhi Dadri, Haryana

Stance: Southpaw

Hailing from Charkhi Dadri district of Haryana, southpaw Naveen Kumar was mostly interested in team sports such as kabaddi, cricket and volleyball but eventually switched to boxing. However, it was not that easy for Naveen as he was the only boxer in his village and a lot of facilities were not there. So, he had to spend 3 hours every day to go to Bhiwani and train.

Naveen’s dream got a major boost when he was selected for the Indian camp in 2019.

Recent achievements:

2023 - Gold medal at 6th elite men’s national boxing championships, Hisar

2022 - Silver medal at 36th national games in Gandhinagar, Gujarat

2022 - Participated in the Asian boxing championship in Amman, Jordan

Name: Narender Berwal (92+ kg)

Date of Birth: 14/11/1994

Hometown: Hisar, Haryana

Stance: Orthodox

Narender Berwal started boxing in 2009 and soon moved to SAI Centre where he trained for four years and won gold medals in two Youth National Boxing championships in 2011 and 2012 before joining the Indian Army in 2013.

Joining the Army changed Narender Berwal’s career as his training regime got more intense and the results became more consistent.

Recent achievements:

2023 – Gold medal at 6th Elite Men’s National Boxing Championship

2022 – Bronze medal at Asian men’s boxing championship

2022 – Gold medal at 36th National Games

Full squad:

Govind Sahani (48kg), Deepak Bhoria (51kg), Sachin Siwach (54kg), Mohammad Hussamuddin (57kg), Varinder Singh (60kg), Shiva Thapa (63.5kg), Akash Sangwan (67kg), Nishant Dev (71kg), Sumit Kundu (75kg), Ashish Chaudhary (80kg), Harsh Choudhary (86kg), Naveen Kumar (92kg) and Narender Berwal (92+kg).

Athletes information as provided by Boxing Federation of India, edited for brevity.