Our Sports Reporter
GUWAHATI: Six-time world champion Mary Kom staved off a stiff challenge from Asian Championships bronze medallist Nikhat Zareen in 51kg while former world youth champion Sachin Siwach (52kg) upset Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gaurav Solanki to storm into the final of the second edition of the India Open International Boxing Tournament at the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium here today.
Asian Games gold medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) and four-time Asian Championships medallist Shiva Thapa (60kg) along with two Assam boxers Jamuna Boro (54kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) are among the other boxers who booked berth in the final till the filing of this report.
Mary Kom, winner of 2018 India Open gold in 48kg, took time to settle into the much-awaited bout as Zareen was the early aggressor. It was in the final round that the London Olympic bronze medallist found her strides and punched her way with the split verdict of 4-1 win to set up a final showdown with Vanlal Duati, a 3-2 winner over Jyoti.
Sachin exuded confidence through his fiery flurry of punches against the accomplished Solanki to set up a final showdown with Panghal, who has won gold medals at the Asian Championships as well as the Strandja Cup this year. Siwach, who earned a bronze from the GeeBee Boxing tournament in 2019, hopes to change the colour of his medal to gold in his first meeting with Panghal in any competitive event.
A year after losing in the semi-finals, 25-year-old Shiva Thapa rode on vociferous cheers of support to set up a revenge match with defending 60kg champion Manish Kaushik. Thapa, who came here after a bronze from the Asian Championships, did not take much time to assert his supremacy over Poland’s D Krystian Sczepanski in his 5-0 demolition. Kaushik, meanwhile, thumped Ankit 5-0 in his semi-final.
“My opponent was getting tired so I tried to put some false punches to make him more tired. I am glad the strategy worked,” said Thapa after his victory.
Former World Championships bronze medallist Gaurav Bidhuri was a big Indian hope to lose out on a place in the final. Bidhuri was beaten 0-5 by Thailand’s former Asian champion Chatchai Decha Butdee and had to settle for the bronze.
Asian Championships silver medallist Deepak (49kg) did not even have to enter the ring to confirm his final berth as he got a walkover from Philippines’s Carolo Cano Paalam. Kavinder Singh Bisht, also a silver medallist from the continental event, remained in the hunt for the 56kg gold following a tight 4-1 win over compatriot Madan Lal.
Fresh from winning his maiden medal from the Asian Championships, Ashish Kumar (75kg) will now target the gold at the India Open 2019 after edging Thailand’s Aphisit Khankhokkruea 4-1. He will meet Eumir Felix Delos Santos of Philippines who knocked out Manjeet Panghal.
In the women’s section, 2012 world champion Josie Gabuco of Philippines used her experience to dismiss the challenge of India’s Kalavani 5-0 in 48kg while Monika prevailed over Manju Rani 4-1.
In the 54kg category Assam boxers Jamuna Boro, who fought in front of her family members, looked in aggressive mood from the very early moment of the contest and she managed to hold it till the end resulting a 5-0 victory over India’s Meena Kumari. In the final she would face Y Sandhyarani of India who beat Jeerapark Inkam in other semi final clash by 4-1.
Meanwhile Lovlina Borgohain today made it into the final without entering into the ring as the boxers today got walk over against Yunusova of Uzbekistan in the semi final.
Later in the day Ankushita Boro and Bhagyabati Kachari also rushed into the finals by defeating their respective opponents. Ankushita in 64kg defeated her state-mate Pwilao Basumatari 4-1. Bhagyabati in 75kg category defeated Nupur from India by 5-0.
Also read: Local Sports