With 15 days to go, excitement is mounting over the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games boxing competition, as nations submit the names of those boxers who have been selected to represent their countries at the prestigious multi-sports event.
As always with the Commonwealth Games, nicknamed the Friendly Games, boxers from the sport’s powerhouse countries, like host nation England (which leads the all-time Commonwealth Games boxing medals table with 128 medals), Australia, India and South Africa, will be rubbing shoulders with athletes from much smaller Commonwealth nations, like Fiji, Lesotho and Cyprus, all of which nevertheless feature in the all-time medals table.
The competition takes place over nine days, from 29 July, the day after the Games Opening Ceremony, to 7 August, the day before the Closing Ceremony, with a rest day on 5 August. Quarter-finals are on Wednesday and Thursday 3 and 4 August, semis are on Saturday 6, and finals and medal ceremonies on Sunday 7 August.
The men’s competition features 10 weight categories: flyweight, bantamweight, featherweight, light welterweight, welterweight, light middleweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight and super heavyweight.
The women will compete in six weight divisions: minimumweight, light flyweight, featherweight, lightweight, light middleweight and middleweight.
Perhaps surprisingly, none of the boxers in the home team, England, consisting of eight men and six women, has previously competed at a Commonwealth Games. But with gold medallists including the Budapest 2018 AIBA Women’s Youth World Boxing champion in the lightweight (60kg) division, Gemma Richardson, and the recent EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Champion at light middleweight (71kg), Mohammed Harris Akbar, the team will be seeking to top the medals table once again.
Strong competition will come from Team India, which finished second to England in the boxing medals table at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, with three gold, three silver and three bronze medals.
Among India’s four female boxers at Birmingham 2022 will be defending IBA Women’s World Boxing champion in the flyweight (52kg) division, Nikhat Zareen, while the men’s team of eight boxers includes 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Amit Panghal.
The competition is being run under the auspices of the IBA, which has ensured that all referees and judges have received specialist integrity training ahead of the competition. For the first time, officials have been selected from neutral countries outside the Commonwealth.
The venue for the competition is Hall 4 at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre, the UK’s largest exhibition venue and one of Europe’s leading event destinations. It welcomes around 2.3 million visitors and over 45,000 exhibiting companies to more than 500 events every year.
At the Commonwealth Games, the NEC will also host four other sports (badminton, netball, table tennis and weightlifting) and two para sports (para powerlifting and para table tennis).
Boxing has featured at every Commonwealth Games and its precursor, the British Empire Games, since the Games were founded in 1930. It is a core sport, meaning that it must be included in the programme of every edition of the Games.