Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Asian Games champion Amit Panghal (52kg), Kavinder Singh Bisht (56 Kg), Pooja Rani (81kg) were among the six Indians, who stormed into the finals of the Asian Boxing Championships in Bangkok, Thailand on Thursday.
Apart from that ,seven more pugilists bagged a bronze medal each with Shiva Thapa (60kg), who had earlier become the first Indian boxer to win medals from four consecutive Asian Championships, losing 1-4 to Zakir Safiullin of Kazakstan in the semifinals..
In a power packed display, Amit, also a 2017 Asian Championships silver medallist, thrashed China’s Jianguan Hu 4-1 to march into the summit clash.
Kavinder Bisht was sharp and agile as ever in the 56kg semi-final bout with Enkh-Amar Kharkhuu of Mongolia. The Indian held his nerves to secure a 4-1 win in a nerve-wracking encounter. He suffered a cut during the high-intensity contest and hopes to be fully ready for the final.
“My opponent was an aggressive boxer like me. The focus was on dodging his punches and giving it back to him and I am glad my plan worked. I am very confident for tomorrow and hopefully, will win gold for my country,” said Kavinder after the bout.
Deepak (49kg) entered the final without having to enter the ring as his opponent had a cut and gave a walkover.
Ashish Kumar (75kg) overpowered Mousavi Seyedshahin of Iran in a split 3-2 win and advance to his first ever Asian Championships final.
In her first bout of the entire tournament, Pooja Rani (81kg) put up an immaculate display of power and precision to knock out Fariza Sholtay of Kazakhstan 5-0. This is her third medal from this prestigious tournament after silver in 2012 and a bronze in 2015.
“I was playing in 81 for the first time and I was scared as my opponent was taller than me but once I stepped inside the ring, I got the confidence and played my attacking game. Tomorrow, I am up against the current World Champion and it will be my first time against her,” said Pooja Rani after her semi-final win
2018 World Championships bronze medallist Simranjit Kaur (64kg) was too strong for Maftunakhon Melieva of Uzbekistan whom she got the better of in a unanimous decision.
37-year-old Sarita Devi (60kg) had to be content with the bronze medal after going down to 2016 world champion Wenlu Yang of China. This was the veteran Manipur pugilist’s eighth Asian Championships medal of a glorious career that also has World Championships gold.
Sarita had won silver in 2001 to open her medal tally from this tournament and then added five gold medals in 2003, 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012. In 2017 she came up with a bronze.
Former world junior champion Nikhat Zareen (51kg), who created a flutter a couple of days ago by stunning the two-time world champion Nazym Kyzaibay, had to bite the dust in a 0-5 loss to Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Tam. This bronze is her first medal from the Asian Championships.
2018 World Championships silver medallist Sonia Chahal’s (57kg) quest to clinch a gold also was interrupted by a 3-2 decision that went in favour of Asian Games bronze medallist Nilawan Techasuep of Thailand.
In her Asian Championships debut, Manisha Moun (54kg) earned a creditable bronze when she lost to Taiwan’s Huang Hsiao-Wen 2-3 in a split decision in the semi-finals.
Former Asian Games bronze medallist Satish Kumar (+91kg) had to opt out of his fight with Kamshybek Kunkabayev of Kazakhstan as he had suffered a cut.
In 69kg, Ashish’s dream run came to an end when Uzbekistan’s Bobo-Usmon Baturov inflicted defeat on the Indian.