Indian boxers, including former world number one Vijender Singh, will seek to grab the last available slots for London Olympics but will have to fight it out against a stellar field of over 130 competitors from 27 countries when the Asian Qualifying tournament starts in Astana, Kazakhstan on Thursday.
Instructed to be at their aggressive best during the event, which would decide 25 Asian slots for the Olympics, the boxers will kick off their campaign tomorrow evening after the draw is settled in the afternoon the same day.
India has already bagged four slots, Devendro Singh (49kg), Jai Bhagwan (60kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg) and Vikas Krishan (69kg), during the first Olympic Qualifiers (last year's World Championships in Azerbaijan).
After more than three months of training in Patiala, six Indians are ready for a shot at Olympic qualification and given the new scoring system, under which points earned are shown only after the end of a round instead of live updates, national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu said it is imperative that his boys are seen to be the more aggressive ones by the judges.
"They have been told to do away with the closed guard and land as many punches as possible to ensure that judges can see the aggression. Now it is all about the rate at which you land punches because the bouts have become very high scoring," Sandhu had told PTI before the team's departure for Astana.
"The boys have also been told not to back-paddle too much as that is perceived to be a defensive tactic. They should not keep a shell guard. But as and when the situation demands, they should be able to adjust," he said.