Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Asian Championships gold medalist Pooja Rani (75kg) and World Championships bronze medalist Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) entered the semi-finals as the Indian pugilists assured themselves 4 medals at the Magomed Salam Umakhanov Memorial International Boxing Tournament in Kaspiysk, Russia on Wednesday.
Along with them, India Open gold medallist Neeraj (57kg) and World Youth Boxing Championships bronze medalist Jony (60kg) were the others who made it to the semi-finals.
11 Indian pugilists (6 men,5 women ) are representing the country at the 21st edition of this tournament that will see tough competition till August 4 from 220 boxers hailing from 21 countries. This event will give the Indian boxers a good opportunity to hone their skills and test themselves as they approach the World Championships later in the year.
The Strandja Cup bronze medalist Lovlina was in top form in her quarter-final bout with Russia’s Anastasiya Sigaeva whom she outpunched 5-0. She will next take on Belarusian Alina Veber for a place in the final.
Pooja Rani rebounded from a shock loss at the India Open in May with a fine performance to enter the medal bracket. With a 4-1 victory over Russia’s Laura Mamedkulova that showed her grit and determination amply, the experienced boxer marched into the last-four.
Fresh from winning the gold at the India Open, Neeraj oozed confidence with her flurry of punches to record a 4-1 win over Russian Sayana Sagataeva.
Talented youth boxer, Jony showed incredible maturity as she delivered a 5-0 blow on Belarusian Anastasiya Obushenkova. Pinki Rani (51kg) was the only one of the Indian women boxers who wasn’t successful in her attempt to make it to the semis. The 2018 India Open champion suffered a bruising 0-5 loss to Belarus’ experienced boxer, Yuliya Apanasovich.
Among the men, Ashish Insha (52kg) beat Azerbaijan’s Salman Alizade 4-1 to enter the quarter-finals. He joined 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gaurav Solanki (56kg), GeeBee Boxing silver medallist Govind Sahani (49kg) and 2018 India Open gold medallist Sanjeet (91kg), all of whom are in the last-eight stage of their respective weight categories at this tournament.