Guwahati: With six gold medals last year, the Indian contingent is confident of putting up a better show as the second edition of the India Open kicks off at the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium, here on Monday.
Having trained rigorously to improve their game, Indian pugilists are ready to show their supremacy at the India Open despite some stiff international competition.
"We have been training boxers for the last few months in a way that they understand the need to switch from defensive to offensive mode faster, and make it effective as well," said Santiago Nieva, India's chief performance director.
"It has resulted in many of our boxers becoming attacking and aggressive-minded, yet able to hold their ground when needed," he remarked.
The training helped India register unprecedented success at the Asian Championships last month, where the country accounted for a rich haul of 13 medals and also benefited individual boxers.
Agrees former World Championships bronze medallist Shiva Thapa, who had suffered a shocking semi-final loss to compatriot Manish Kaushik in 60kg at the India Open last year. The setback, coupled with a few more unexpected losses, made the 25-year-old introspect and work extensively with coaches to change his game. His hard work was rewarded with a bronze at the continental event this year.
"I have changed my game. Even at the last Asian Championships, I played much more freely. I am more aggressive now. This is the style of boxing I have adopted and our coaches are helping me with my technique," said Thapa.
Such is the confidence of the Indian pugilists that foreign boxers are wary of Indian squad and several teams are reportedly studying the Indian boxers.
Chatchai Decha Butdee, a two-time Olympian boxer from Thailand and former Asian champion, considers the Indian challenge in 56kg tough with the 2019 Asian Championships silver medallist Kavinder Singh Bisht and 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Mohammed Hussamuddin from India in the same category.
"I have watched videos of Bisht to know of his style. I even watched his 56kg final at the Asian Championships in Bangkok this year. He definitely won't be an easy opponent to deal with," said the accomplished Thai pugilist.
With 16 countries participating in the second edition of the India Open, close to 200 boxers will be vying for the podium. The preliminaries on May 20 and May 21 will be followed by the quarter-finals and semi-finals, culminating into the grand finale on May 24.