Gaining momentum from their extraordinary campaign, star Indian pugilists Deepak Kumar, Mohammed Hussamuddin, and Nishant Dev will be aiming to clinch a first-ever gold medal for the country as they gear up to compete in the semi-finals of the IBA Men’s World Boxing Championship 2023 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Friday.
With three confirmed medals, India ranks joint fourth in the medals tally at the prestigious tournament with hosts Uzbekistan (9), Cuba and Russia (6 each), and Kazakhstan (5) taking up the top three spots.
The 2019 Asian silver medallist Deepak Kumar (51kg) will get India’s charge for the gold underway when he takes on the two-time Worlds bronze medallist Billal Bennama of France in his semi-finals bout. The 26-year-old Indian has had a scintillating campaign in his second World Championships appearance so far, recording three wins by unanimous decisions and also toppling the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Saken Bibossinov of Kazakhstan in the Round of 32.
Looking to maintain his stellar form, Deepak will be giving it his all to reach the final where he will either face the Rio Olympics gold medallist Hasanboy Dusmatov or the reigning European champion Martin Molina of Spain.
Competing in his debut World Championships campaign, Mohammed Hussamuddin (57kg) will be aiming to successfully reach the final in his maiden appearance at the tournament when he takes to the ring against Saidel Horta of Cuba. The two-time Commonwealth Games bronze medallist has elevated his performance to the highest of levels to prevail in all of his bouts at the tournament so far.
The experienced campaigner hailing from Telangana will potentially go head to head against the 2021 World Championships silver medallist Abdumalik Khalokov of Uzbekistan or Munarbek Seitbek-Uulu of Kyrgyzstan upon reaching the final.
One of India’s upcoming pugilists Nishant Dev (71kg), who has converted his quarter-final finish at the last World Championships to a guaranteed medal at the current edition will square off against the reigning Asian champion Aslanbek Shymbergenov of Kazakhstan in the semi-finals. The Karnal-born pugilist has displayed his supreme ability through his world-class performances by notching three wins by unanimous decisions and one by the referee stopping the contest (RSC) so far.
Certain to continue his rich vein of form, the 22-year-old will be determined to reach the finals and take on either the two-time Asian champion Saidjamshid Jafarov of Uzbekistan or the 2018 South American champion Wanderson de Oliveria of Brazil.
The ongoing tournament is witnessing the participation of 538 boxers, including several Olympic medallists, from 107 countries. The gold medallists will walk away with a prize money of USD 200,000, the silver medallists are to be given USD 100,000 and both bronze medallists will be awarded USD 50,000 each.