India Open Boxing: Indians poised for medals

Ace Indian pugilists Mary Kom and Shiva Thapa, among others, put up sharp performances on Tuesday to remain medal contenders at the Indian Open Boxing tournament.

Five-time world champion Mary Kom defeated Bina Devi in the lightweight category at the India Open Boxing tournament on Tuesday.   -  PTI

Host India gained considerable ground to have an assault on the big medals in the Spicejet India Open international boxing championship at the Thyagaraj Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday.

With Olympic medallist and five time world champion, Mary Kom, staying light on her feet and swift with her punches, it looked difficult for anyone to stop her from reaching the gold. Of course, there were two foreign boxers in the women’s light flyweight category who could check Mary. It was an ideal scenario from the organisers’ point of view, as Mary figures in all the banners of the event, with the slogan "Stars in your eyes, heart in your mouth".

Monday's report: Thapa cruises into quarters

She will meet Altansetseg Lutsaikhan of Mongolia in the semifinals. Like Mary, who scored an unanimous points decision against the enthusiastic compatriot Bina Devi, the Mongolian scored a 5-0 victory over Rajesh Narwal. The Filipino Josie Gabuco will fight the other semifinal against Monika, who did well to get past Veronica Nbithe of Kenya.

Sarita Devi, more famous for the medal episode in the last Asian Games than her world championship crown, sailed into the semifinals of the 60 kg section with a 4-1 victory over Peamwilai Laopeam of Thailand. She will meet compatriot Priyanka Choudhary, while the other semifinal will be between Pavitra and Mira Marjut Potkonan of Finland.

In the feather weight class, Sonia Lather was beaten 3-2 by Christian Marwam Jembay of Indonesia, but another Sonia and Shashi Chopra set up a semifinal against each other.

Saweety Boora and Alari Boro made the semifnals in the 75 kg section, to ensure an Indian in the final. Two other Indians, Pooja Rani and Rumi Gogoi were beaten 3-2 by Essiane Clotilde of Cameroon and Panich Suchada of Thailand respectively.

In the men’s lightweight category, Manish Kaushik set up a semifinal against Shiva Thapa. Olympian Shiva squeezed to a 3-2 victory over Sherbek Rakhmatulloev of Uzbekistan. Ankush Dahiya won 4-1 against Somchay Wongsuyan of Thailand to give a strong hold for India.

Taking the focus a bit off the Indian boxers, it was a spectacular finish in the super heavyweight category when the ungainly looking Keddy Evans Agnes of Seychelles knocked out Lazibek Mullojonov of Uzbekistan with an explosive uppercut that caught the Uzbek’s jaw and lifted him into the air, in the second round. The strong built Uzbek had enjoyed the upper hand till then before the knock out punch.

In the semifnals, Evans will meet Satish Kumar who got a walkover in the quarterfinals.
Even though Gaurav Solanki and Salman Anwar Shaik made the semifinals of the flyweight class, it was Laldin Mavia who caught the attention with his superb skills as he swayed away from the punches of Khudoynazar Fayzov of Uzbekistan, who eventually won a 3-2 decision from the judges.

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The cut that he had suffered during his fight against Devendro Singh in the earlier round did flare up, but Laldin Mavia was a class act in the ring, and unlucky to bow out without a medal.

The sleepy audience came to life in the evening as Dinesh fought well against an unusually subdued Risnoidys Despaigne of Cuba to win a 5-0 verdict from the judges, and set up a semifinal against the Commonwealth Games champion Manoj Kumar in the welter weight category. Duryodhan Singh Negi was the their Indian to make the
semifinals in the 69 kg section.

Dheeraj and Rohit Tokas made the semifinals in the 64 kg section, and will have formidable opponents to content, Ikboljon Kholdarov of Uzbekistan and Jorge Moiran Vinent of Cuba respectively.

Asian championship and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Mandeep Jangra fought bright and fearless to win 5-0 against Apihsit Hankhokkhrue of Thailand to make the semifinals of the middleweight category.