Professional boxing to get a pro touch for the first time with ‘India Unleashed-Fight Night’

New Delhi, March 5: LZ Promotion is all set to bring the might of professional boxing to India with their ‘India Unleashed ’ May 1 fight night in Jalandhar. Professional boxing, which has won hearts all over the world, is yet to see light in India. With a mind-set of improving the lives of Indian boxers, Parm Goraya, has a vision of making it big with the planned fight nights.

‘India Unleashed’, an event sanctioned by the Indian Boxing Commission (IBC), Goraya wants to rope in changes with USA styled boxing format and help ring in the changes for professional boxing in India.

Goraya – a second generation British Indian -- is a registered promoter with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). With strong connects in World Boxing Council (WBC) and International Boxing Federation (IBF), Goraya knows what it takes to make a finished boxer, grooming them right from grassroots.

“Definitely there is huge potential for pro boxing in India. It just needs a structured ecosystem and an approach that has the quality to be called fight nights. The 'India Unleashed' fight night is our effort and a step in the right direction to make pro-boxing a hit. I’m sure ‘India Unleashed’ will set a benchmark and contribute to the development of boxers in the country. My plan is to bring in more such fights and initiate a professional Indian circuit which guarantees quality fights,” Goraya, CEO of LZ Promotions, said during the formal launch press conference on Friday.

The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star Dalip Singh, also popularly known as “The Great Khali”, has extended his support to Goraya and his efforts to streamline the professional boxing scene in India. The first of the fight nights will be held at Khali’s Academy in Jalandhar.

The ‘India Unleashed’ fight night will comprise of 10 fight cards that will include top-20 talents scouted and picked through the country. The star attractions for the night are going to be Pawan Goyat, Chandni Mehra (featherweight) and Suman Kumari (lightweight). Amidst the three, Goyat will be gunning for a title 

Vikas Krishan beats London Olympics bronze medallist as six Indian men cruise into semi-finals at Boxam International 10 Indian boxers in action on Day 4 in last-four stage
New Delhi, March 5: Playing to his reputation, Vikas Krishan Yadav outpunched the 2012 London Olympic Games bronze medallist Vicenzo Mangiacapre to progress into the men's 69kg semi-finals on the third day at the Boxam International Tournament in Castellon, Spain.

The Commonwealth Games champion Vikas, who has already secured a berth for his third Olympics in Tokyo, got rid of Italian Mangiacapre in a 3-2 split decision. Apart from Vikas, five more Indian men boxers registered victories in their respective quarter-final bouts to assure India six medals in men's category at the 35th edition of the tournament.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Mohammed Husamuddin notched up a 5-0 win against Italy's Simone Spada in the 57kg while, World Championships bronze medallist Manish Kaushik, who's making return in the ring after a year, managed 4-1 win against Safiullin Zakir of Kazakhstan. 2019 Asian Championship silver medallist Ashish Kumar (75kg) and Sumit Sangwan (81kg) also made their way into the semi-finals with 4-1 wins in their respective matches. While Kumar beat Italy's Remo Salvatti, Sangwan won against Belgium’s Ziad El Mohor. Satish Kumar, the first Indian boxer to qualify in +91kg at Olympics, is the other Indian to advance into the semi-finals. He outclassed  Denmark’s Morten Givskov Nielson 5-0.

Meanwhile, World Championship silver medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) and Sanjeet (91kg) suffered defeats in their respective last-8 bout. Panghal went down fighting 3-2 against local favourite and European Games champion Gabriel Escobar. Sanjeet lost to Italy’s Matteo Girolamo 3-2.

With 10 medals already confirmed, India's four women and six men pugilists will look to seal themselves a place in the gold medal match as they will play their semi-finals late in the night on Friday. In the women's category, Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom (51kg), Jasmine (57kg), Simranjit (60kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg) will be seen in action while all six men boxer, who won on the third day, will play their respective last-four clash late on Friday.

UFC 259 – Blachowicz Vs Adesanya

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) delivers its most stacked event of 2021 so far with UFC 259: BŁACHOWICZ vs. ADESANYA which is headlined by a trio of world championship bouts as UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz makes his first title defense against UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. In the co-main event, UFC featherweight champion Amanda Nunes puts her title on the line against talented striker Megan Anderson and UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan looks to take out surging No. 1 contender Aljamain Sterling.  

Light Heavyweight (Main Event) – Blachowicz Vs Adesanya 

Newly crowned UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz makes his first title defense against UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, who aims to become the only fifth fighter to simultaneously hold belts in two UFC weight classes.

Jan Blachowicz (27-8, fighting out of Warsaw, Poland), captured the vacant UFC light heavyweight championship with a spectacular TKO victory over Dominick Reyes in September. Having known for his “Polish power,” the No. 14 ranked men’s pound-for-pound fighter has also earned impressive KO wins against Corey Anderson, Luke Rockhold and Ilir Latifi. Blachowicz now attempts to sustain his reign by securing the first successful title defense against Adesanya.

No. 3 ranked men’s pound-for-pound fighter, Israel Adesanya (20-0, fighting out of Auckland, New Zealand by way of Lagos, Nigeria) quickly turned heads upon joining the UFC roster in 2018. The former kickboxer has since secured his spot on the top of the middleweight ladder with sensational KO victories over Paulo Costa, Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson. Adesanya now aims to etch his name in the history books by taking out Blachowicz to become a two-division UFC champion.   

UFC 259 will become just the seventh UFC event to feature three title fights but also the first-ever to feature four champions across three fights on a single card. And while all three title fights possess the promise to be dynamic matchups, all eyes will be on the light heavyweight division as middleweight champion Israel Adesanya takes on Jan Blachowicz with the hopes of adding a second championship belt to his resume.



Subplots and narratives abound as inform Atletico de Madrid host Barcelona in LaLiga this Saturday

Watch Atletico de Madrid vs FC Barcelona live this Sunday at 1:30 AM on Facebook watch

Atletico de Madrid host Barcelona at the Wanda Metropolitano this Saturday evening in one of the most eagerly awaited clashes of the 2020-21 LaLiga campaign, in a clash which could have a huge bearing on this season’s ever unpredictable title race.

Atletico are the last team still unbeaten in LaLiga Santander this season, with Diego Simeone’s team having won five and drawn two of their seven games, so far scoring 17 goals and conceding just twice. They went into the international break buzzing after four straight victories, including a 4-0 hammering of previously in-form Cadiz last time out.

Barcelona have had a more up and down start to the new campaign, as incoming blaugrana coach Ronald Koeman dealt with a number of different challenges. October's 3-1 ElClasico defeat to Real Madrid was a setback, however the rousing 5-2 victory over Real Betis last time out suggested that Koeman and his players had now clicked together.

Saturday’s game will of course be extra emotional for new Atletico forward Luis Suarez, who joined Los Colchoneros last summer after scoring 198 goals and winning 13 trophies including four LaLiga titles during six years at the Camp Nou. The 33-year-old has hit the ground running with his new team, with five goals in his first six LaLiga appearances in a rojiblanco shirt.

Suarez has already built an empathetic understanding with Atletico’s young attacking star Joao Felix, who also has five LaLiga goals already and looks well settled in his second season in Spain. Others in top form so far for Simeone’s side include versatile midfielder Marcos Llorente and Mexico international Hector Herrera, while goalkeeper Jan Oblak has been his usual solid self between the posts.

Barça’s own young attacker Ansu Fati suffered a serious knee injury against Betis, however Osumane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann both looked sharp with well taken strikes. Griezmann will be up for the game against Atletico, for whom he scored 94 goals in 180 LaLiga games before joining Barça in summer 2019.

History has been on Barça’s side in this fixture through recent seasons, with Simeone yet to record a LaLiga victory over the Catalans, although May 2014’s 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou did secure that season’s LaLiga Santander for his team.

Their most recent meeting was a dramatic 2-2 draw in the Catalan capital last June, while a superb Lionel Messi strike was the difference in a 1-0 victory when they met at the Wanda in December 2019. Messi has 26 goals in 25 LaLiga meetings with Atletico, and also 11 yellow cards – a sign of how closely fought these games often are.

Messi’s confrontation with his close personal friend Suarez is just one of the many intriguing sub-plots ahead of a game which is also likely to throw up plenty of new talking points. An Atletico victory could send them top of the LaLiga Santander standings, while three points for Barça would help them make up ground with the leaders.

Whatever happens during the 90 minutes at the Wanda this Saturday will have repercussions well into the future.

Oxfam India's fastest trailblazers are ready to celebrate International Women’s Day with 2021’s first virtual walkathon
The year’s Trailwalker Challenge — #WalkForHer — is themed around raising awareness about and ending deep-rooted gender inequality in our society

Oxfam India has announced the first edition of 2021 Virtual Trailwalker Challenge. This edition will be held in 2 parts — first, between 25th February and 6th March and second, between 8th March and 17th March. The edition offers three challenges for the participants to choose from — they can complete either 100 km, 50 km or 25 km in 10 days.  

The year’s first walkathon #WalkForHer is a tribute to all women who not only have to fight gender inequality at every stage of their lives but also those who bore the worst brunt of lockdown in 2020 in terms of loss of jobs, facing domestic violence, and disrupted education. Oxfam India’s fastest trailblazers are all geared up to embrace the challenge, #WalkForHer, and “walk to end all discrimination against women”.

For Oxfam India, a non-profit organisation working to support child education, empowering women and advocating against inequality, the Trailwalker Challenge has been one of the unique ways to involve people in important conversations as well as fund-raising.

Bengaluru-based businessman Taher Merchant is one of them. In 2018, Taher became the first Indian man to finish the Everest Base Camp Ultra Marathon—a 60 km marathon— in over a decade. Last year, he joined Oxfam’s Virtual Trailwalker challenge to complete the 100 km challenge in just two days. He participated in solidarity with the migrant workers who faced immense hardships during the lockdown. He is ready to run again this year.“I connect with this year’s cause as well and will do my bit to support it. I believe we are all equal and yes, gender inequality has been around for a long time in our society but it's time we ended it for good. Let's all #WalkForHer. This year, I will also try to cover the distance even faster than the last time,” said Taher.

Another trailblazer is Pankaj Maste from Mumbai who completed 100 kms in just one day in 2020. About this year's challenge, he says,“Challenging myself is very important to me because I believe that only when you push yourself, do you realise your true potential. A fitness challenge is the best way to race against time and win. This year’s theme is also very important because we can all achieve the impossible with confidence, passion and hard work, regardless of our gender. Gender should not be a hindrance for anyone and that is why I will #WalkForHer to end gender inequality.”

Anupama Singha Roy is our trailblazer from Bengaluru, who completed 50 kms, during the 2020 Trailwalker Challenge, in just one day. She is excited about the challenge as well as the theme. “To put my mind and body through an endurance test and then bask in the feeling of accomplishment when the feat is successfully achieved, is incomparable! I truly believe in the saying, "Don’t limit your challenges,challenge your limits!” And it's a wonderful thought to encourage people to embrace gender equality. Let's not just limit it to a theme but make it our way of life from now on.”

More details to register here: