Indian Open Boxing: Mary Kom enters final; all-Indian final in seven men’s categories

For India, 31 men and 26 women are assured of medals making it a total haul of 57 at the second India Open.

Mary Kom (blue) in action against Nikhat Zareen in the semifinal of the Fly (51kg) category.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

Six-time world champion M.C. Mary Kom staved off a strong challenge from Asian championships bronze medallist Nikhat Zareen to record a 4-1 win in the semifinals and reach the women's 51kg title clash in the India Open international boxing tournament at the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium here on Thursday.

Mary will take on compatriot Vanlal Duati in the final.

Nikhat gave her best against her idol and executed her straight punches well to keep Mary under pressure in the first two rounds.

Mary fought back to land a few clear scoring punches and win the contest.

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Later, Mary – who perhaps misunderstood Nikhat's pre-match comments – burst out against her opponent. “I read in the newspapers that she was challenging me. I have nothing to prove. Everyone can challenge me outside the ring, but they should prove it inside the ring... If I am her idol, then she has to show respect to me,” said Mary.

Earlier, Nikhat had said, “Last time when I fought against her I was a bit nervous... but this time I am confident to put up a strong fight. I will give my 100 per cent and I'm sure the spectators will enjoy it."

Sachin Siwach continued with his memorable outing as he ousted Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gaurav Solanki 5-0 to record another upset win. Boxing from a distance, he unleashed some clean shots and stayed away from Solanki's powerful punches.

Siwach will meet Asian Games gold medallist Amit Panghal, who boxed beautifully to outwit experienced National champion P.L. Prasad 5-0 in a tough fight, in the 52kg final.

The 56kg title clash will also be a much anticipated bout between former Worlds bronze medallist Shiva Thapa and his arch-rival and defending champion Manish Kaushik.

Showcasing his tactical game, Thapa tired out Krystian Sczepanski of Poland to control the pace of the fight. The local lad landed some spectacular combinations and precise rights to take the bout with a 5-0 verdict.

Kaushik beat younger Ankit 5-0.

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“Amit has improved a lot of late but this is my big chance to show my prowess at a major competition. I hope to give my best and return winner,” Siwach, who won a bronze at the GeeBee Boxing tournament in Finland in March, said.

Shiva Thapa also remained on course to clinching a gold at the same venue where he was crowned national champion three years ago as he fended off a strong challenge from his Polish opponent D Krystian Sczepanski to emerge 5-0 winner.

Sczepanski was at his aggressive best and kept hurling punches but Shiva cleverly kept frustrating his opponent by going out of his range.

“It made him tired at the end of every round. I was playing my style, did not give my 100 per cent. I was just trying to be tactical with him and let his punches go in the air and miss it so that he loses his control and confidence,” Shiva said. He will face Manish Kaushik in the 60kg final on Friday.

Other important results (Indians unless specified)

Semifinals

Men

49kg: Deepak w.o. Carolo Paalam (Phi); 56kg: Chatchai Decha Butdee (Tha) bt Gaurav Bidhuri 5-0; Kavinder Singh Bisht bt Madan Lal 4-1; 64kg: Rohit Tokas bt Ankush Dahiya 5-0; 69kg: Ashish bt Clair Marven (Mri) 5-0; 75kg: Ashish Kumar bt Aphisit Khankhokkruea 4-1; 91kg: Naman Tanwar bt Praveen Kumar 5-0; Sumit Sangwan bt Sanjeet 5-0.

Women

48kg: Josie Anape Gabuco (Phi) bt Kalaivani 5-0; Monika bt Manju Rani 4-1; 51kg: Vanlal Duati bt Jyoti Gulia 3-2; 54kg: Jamuna Boro bt M. Meenakumari 5-0; 57kg: Neeraj bt Sonia Chahal 5-0; Manisha Maun bt Kros Hammangaihsangi 5-0; 60kg: Sarita Devi bt Janjaem Suwannapheng (Tha) RSC-R1; Simranjit Kaur bt Praveen 4-1; 75kg: Pooja bt Saweety Boora 4-1.