Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Youth world champion Sakshi (57kg) and India Open champion Pwilao Basumatary (64kg) recorded contrasting victories on their way to the finals at the Cologne Boxing World Cup in Germany on Friday.
However, two other Indians Pinki Rani (51kg) and Parveen (60kg) failed to cross the their semi-final hurdles and settled for a bronze each..
The 18-year-old Sakshi displayed her maturity and prowess by out punching Thailand’s Tintabthai Preedakamon in a commanding 5-0 victory. Two times world youth champion faces 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Michaela Walsh (Ireland) in the final.
Basumatary had a tough path to the summit clash in the 64kg. The Strandja Boxing Championships bronze medallist had to wage a grim battle see off the stiff challenge of Denmark’s Aiaaja Ditte Frostholm in a split decision. The 26-year-old Indian will face China’s Chengyu Yang in the final.
India has a chance of adding a third gold medal through Strandja Boxing gold medallist Maisnam, who has directly been placed in the final in 54kg due to a smaller draw. Maisnam will lock horns with Machai Bunyanut from Thailand in what would be her only bout of the tournament.
In 51kg, Pinki Rani’s brilliant run came to an end at the hands of Ireland’s 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Carly McNaul, who blanked her 5-0. English pugilist Paige Murney was declared the winner over Parveen in 60kg.
India had sent a seven-member team to this prestigious European event this time following a healthy haul of six medals from the erstwhile Chemistry Cup held at Halle last year. Gaurav Solanki (52kg) and Mohammed Hussamuddin (56kg) were the only Indians to stand on the top podium in the last edition.
21 nations have taken part across 17 weight categories at this tournament and it will help elite boxers to hone their skills ahead of the World Championships to be held later this year.