Mary Kom marches into final of Asian Championships

India’s boxing queeen Mary Kom made her way into the final after outclassing Lutsaikhan Altantsetseg in the women’s 51kg semi-final at the 2021 ASBC Asian Boxing Championships in Dubai on Thursday.

Seasoned campaigner Mary Kom made a defensive start and took her time in the first round. The six-time world champion made the Mongolian opponent work hard and looked in good touch in the next round as she landed timely and powerful punches that put pressure on Altantsetseg.

Mary Kom, who was out of action and playing only second event since the lockdown after being recovered from dengue, kept her calm and used all her experience to take charge of the game and completed a 4-1 win.

Having already won six medals in the Asian Championships, including five gold, Mary Kom will be up against Kazakhstan’s two-time World champion Nazym Kyzaibay, who entered the final after beating Sri Lanka Nadeeka Pushpakumari with the referee stopping contest (RSC) after the first round.

Extending the winning momentum, two-time youth World champion Sakshi pulled off a power-packed performance and upstaged the 2016 World champion Dina Zholaman of Kazakhstan 3-2 in the 54kg last-four clash.

Earlier in the 48kg semi-finals, Monika gave her all and fought hard but fell short against the second seeded Kazakh boxer Alua Balkibekova as she suffered a 5-0 defeat and secured bronze medal for the country.

The International Boxing Association, AIBA has allocated US$ 4,00,000 prize money for the prestigious event which is jointly hosted by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) and UAE Boxing Federation.

With 15 medals confirmed in the on-going event, Indian contingent achieved their highest medal haul, bettering previous best of 13 from the 2019 edition in Bangkok where they finished third with two gold, four silver and seven bronze medals. The ongoing event has witnessed the presence of 150 boxers from 17 countries including strong boxing nations such as India, Uzbekistan, Philippines and Kazakhstan.

Having secured medal in each category in the women’s section, eight more Indian boxers including Simranjit (60kg), Sakshi (54kg), Jaismine (57kg), Lalbuatsaihi (64kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Pooja Rani (75kg), Saweety (81kg) and Anupama (+81kg) will play their respective semi-finals.

Five men boxers, including defending champion Amit Panghal (52kg), Shiva Thapa (64kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Varinder Singh (60kg) and Sanjeet (91kg) will be seen competing in the semi-finals on Friday.

Thapa, who has secured a record fifth successive medal at the Asian Championships, will take on top-seeded Bakhodur Usmonov of Tajikistan. Panghal will square off against Kazakh boxer Saken Bibossinov, whom he beat in the 2019 World Championships semi-finals while Vikas will face challenge from defending champion Bobo Usmon Baturov of Uzbekistan.

During the men’s quarter-finals played late on Wednesday, Indian pugilists Ashish Kumar (75kg) and Narender (+91kg) suffered defeats against strong Kazakh opponents. Ashish went down fighting 3-2 against Asian Games Silver medallist Abilkhan Amankul while Narender lost his bout 0-5 to two-time World Championships silver medallist Kamshibek Kunkabayev.

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