Jyoti Gulia on course for big Mary Kom fight

Jyoti Gulia, who fights in the 51kg which Mary Kom has virtually made her own the last few years, is one of the young girls keen to make a mark.

Railway's Jyoti Gulia (red, on left) lands a punch on Chandigarh's Monika in the 51kg event of the fourth Elite National women's boxing championship at Mundayad, Kannur.   -  S.K. Mohan

She's the Magnificent Mary for the world but for young boxers, the wait to represent the country in the 51kg at the majors is getting worryingly long. And with the six-time World champion M.C. Mary Kom, now 36, not very keen to contest selection trials, the young girls are in a dilemma.

Jyoti Gulia, who fights in the 51kg which Mary has virtually made her own the last few years, is one of the young girls keen to make a mark. And the fourth Elite National women's boxing championship at the Mundayad indoor stadium here gave her a wonderful chance to fight Mary later this month. She won a close pre-quarterfinal against Chandigarh's Monika in her debut Elite National on Wednesday.

“This championship's gold and silver medallists have been invited for the trials to pick the boxer for next year's Olympic qualifiers, so that is my target now. Since Mary and Nikhat Zareen are not here as they are boxing in the Big Bout League, they will also be doing the trials,” said Railway's Jyoti, the 2017 World youth champion.

“After that, I will target the Olympics. Yes, the 51kg category is a very tough category, not only in India but also outside.”

The 19-year-old from Haryana, whose farmer parents were not very keen to see their daughter take up boxing initially, survived a few anxious moments against the Haryana-born Monika before progressing. Strong in her technique, Monika gave her young opponent a torrid time and after two rounds, the bout seemed level.

Jyoti came out with an all-round display in the final round, staying away from her opponent's punches with a strong defence and then going on an all-out attack even as her opponent appeared weary.

Meanwhile Sonia Chahal, the 2017 World silver medallist, was up against Police's Sandhyarani Devi, one of hardest hitters in the circuit. Sandhya came with a flurry of punches and Sonia had a lot of ducking and weaving to do but in the end, her strong defence carried her to the 57kg quarterfinal.

Select results (pre-quarterfinals)

Light flyweight (48kg): Minakshi (Pun) bt Grace Yumnam (Man) 5-0.

Flyweight (51kg): Jyoti Gulia (Rly) bt Monika (Chd) 3-2; Mansi Sharma (UP) bt Ananaya Das (Ker) 4-1.

Bantamweight (54kg): Meenakumari Devi (Pol) bt kanika Chaudhary (UP) RSC-3; Sabiha Khanam (Jha) bt Hema Ambala (Tel) 5-0.

Featherweight (57kg): Sonia Chahal (Rly) bt Y. Sandhyarani Devi (Pol) 4-1.

Lightweight (60kg): Shashi Chopra (Har) bt Rinky Sharma (UP) 5-0; Rekha Tweatia (AP) bt Divya Ganesh (Ker) RSC-3.

Light welterweight (64kg): Pwilao Basumatary (Rly) bt Aarti Rawal (Del) RSC-3.

Welterweight (69kg): C.S. Mayori (Man) bt Shaik Nasreen (A) 5-0.

Heavyweight (+81kg): Kavita Chahal (Pol) bt M. Yamini (TN) RSC-1.