The poster boy of Indian boxing, Vijender Singh, whose bronze-medal feat at the Beijing Olympic Games changed the scenario of boxing in the country, will open the Indian challenge in London on Saturday. He will face Kazak boxer, Danebek Suzhanov, in the opening round of the 75kg category. Vijender's bout is in the second session of the day.
Vijender has never faced Suzhanov before. "I have never seen him play. So, I can't say anything about him. All I can say is that my preparation is good and I am ready to take on anybody. So, it doesn't matter who I am pitched against… you will know the opening-round result tomorrow," says Vijender.
Teenager Shiva Thapa, the youngest in the eight-member boxing squad, will also open his account on Saturday. The debutant boxer will face Mexican Valdez Fierro Oscar in the 56kg category in the day's first session.
No complaints over draw
"We can't say anything about the draws. From this Olympics onwards, a 'seeded system' has been introduced, so before entering the medal round (semifinal), each boxer has to face top-ranked opponents," says chief coach GS Sandhu.
"All the boys are in good shape and when we are training for the top positions, the draw became irrelevant," he adds.
The only Indian to get a bye in the first round is World Championship bronze-medallist Vikas Krishan (69kg). He has been seeded third in the weight division and is the only Indian boxer to get a seeding here.
In the round of 16, he will meet the winner of the bout between Brazil and the US.
Jai Bhagwan (60kg) will face a boxer from Seychelles.
Mary Kom to face Polish boxer
Five-time world champion, MC Mary Kom, the lone Indian woman boxer in the fray, will face Karolina Michalczuk of Poland. If she wins, her medal-round bout will be against a competitor from Tunisia.
"I have not followed much of women's boxing. But Mary Kom's only hurdle before the medal round is the Polish boxer. If she is able to beat the Polish rival, which I am sure she will, Mary Kom will also beat the Tunisian," says Sandhu.