Indian boxer Manoj Kumar gets set for his opening bout of the Rio 2016 Olympics on Wednesday as he goes glove-to-glove with Evaldas Petrauskas of Lithuania in the light welterweight category at the RioCentro Pavilion 6.
This is, by no means, an easy challenge for the Indian Olympian, making his second ever appearance in the mega sporting quadrennial event. Manoj, 29, a gold medallist at the South Asian Games 2016, goes up against Petrauskas, a bronze medallist in the 2012 London Olympics lightweight boxing category.
The 24-year-old Petrauskas is also a gold medallist at the Youth Olympics 2010. Whether Manoj can ease through or have to put up a really hard fight to progress to the round of 16, remains to be seen now. India's Vikas Krishan on Tuesday put up an impressive show as he eased past Charles Conwell of the United States in the round of 32.
Can Manoj do something which Vikas did a day earlier? That remains the big question. The Arjuna Award winner in 2014 has over 11 years of boxing experience and he lost via a controversial decision in the pre quarterfinal bout at the London Olympics four years back. Back with a fresh determination, the Haryana man could be expected to give it all this time around, no matter who his opponent is.
"Experience does matter and I need to use it to my best advantage in Rio â€” all I want to say is I will give my best shot and if the Almighty showers his blessings who knows I might end up with a podium finish," Manoj told Sportskeeda before leaving for Rio.
Rio 2016 men's 64 kg boxing: Manoj Kumar vs Evaldas Petrauskas is scheduled to get under way at 2:45 a.m. IST [Thursday] (10:15 p.m. BST, 5:15 p.m. EST) on Aug. 10.
Where to watch live
India: TV: Star Sports Network, DD National. Live streaming: Hotstar.
UK: TV: BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four. Live streaming: BBC Red Button.
USA: TV: NBC Sports. Live streaming: NBC Olympics.