Five-time world champion and Olympic bronze medal winner MC Mary Kom (48kg) stormed into the finals of Asian Women's Boxing championships along with Sonia Lather (57kg) on Tuesday. However, five other Indian boxers settled for bronze medals at the continental showpiece in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Indian contingent was highly disappointed as four-time gold-medallist L Sarita Devi (64kg) settled for a bronze medal after losing to China’s Dou Dan in the semifinals.
Apart from her, Priyanka Chaudhary (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Seema Punia (81kg) and Shiksha (54kg) signed off with bronze medals after losing their respective semi-final bouts.
Mary Kom, on the other hand, defeated Japan’s Tsubasa Komura in a unanimous 5-0 verdict to make the summit clash for the fifth time in her six appearances at the event.
She is now set to clash with North Korea’s Kim Hyang Mi who defeated Mongolian Nandintsetseg Myagmardulam. If Mary Kom wins the summit clash, it would be her first Asian gold medal in the 48kg category.
The 35-year-old Rajya Sabha MP, returned to her preferred weight category after five years of competing in 51kg, which was made an Olympic category in 2012.
Once again, it was a bout fought largely on defensive tactics. The Japanese boxer seemed too wary to go near the Indian, who had to quite literally lunge at Komura for her right hooks to connect.
Mary Kom’s patience with Komura’s tactics ran out in the second round and she increased the pace and ferocity of her own attacks to unsettle the Japanese.
The shell guard to stave off Komura’s feeble right straights ensured that the Manipuri hardly took any blow in what turned out to be a lopsided contest.
Sonia, in contrast, had to steer past a very aggressive Yodgoroy Mirzaeva, who lacked accuracy in placement of punches but wasn’t lacking in persistence.
Mirzaeva’s wild swings were easy to deflect for the Haryana-boxer, a former silver-medallist at this event, but it was nonetheless a draining contest given the Uzbek’s relentless attempts at connecting something.
In the end, Sonia was unanimously adjudged the victor and will be up against China’s Yin Junhua in the summit clash on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Shiksha (54kg) ended with a bronze medal after being outpunched by Chinese Taipei’s former youth world champion Lin Yu-Ting in the semifinals. Also signing off with a bronze medal was Priyanka Chaudhary (60kg). Priyanka lost to Korean Oh Yeonji in the semifinal.
With PTI inputs