Neeraj upsets 2016 World Champion to enter Finals in Russia

Harpal Singh Bedi

Neeraj (Red, File Photo)

New Delhi: India Open Gold medallist Neeraj (57kg) shocked 2016 World Champion Alessia Mesiano to enter the final at the Magomed Salam Umakhanov Memorial International Boxing Tournament 2019 in Kaspiysk, Russia on Friday.

Strandja Memorial bronze medallist Neeraj and Alessia had the crowd on their feet with their exceptional display of attacking boxing. Both the boxers refused to back down but Neeraj landed a series of clear punches in the final round and edged past the Italian boxer 3-2 to secure her berth in the final.

India Open bronze medallist Gaurav played patiently in the beginning against his Russian opponent Maksim Chernyshev in a highly entertaining bout. In the last round, Gaurav increased the tempo of the game as he landed a flurry of punches to earn a 3-2 split verdict in his favour.

GeeBee Boxing silver medallist earlier in the year, Govind Sahani was up against Tajikistan’s Shermukhammad Rustamov in the quarter-final bout. Govind dominated the proceedings from the word go and showed great display of his attacking prowess. He carried on with the onslaught throughout the match and the referee had to stop the contest in the third round. The young pugilist’s attacking acumen was appreciated by all as he earned the first RSC win of the tournament.

However, Ashish Insha (52kg) couldn’t make it to the semis as he lost his bout against Russia’s Islamitdin Alisoltanov 4-1. The match was in the balance till the last round before Ashish conceded a few clear punches in the last one minute which led to his defeat.

2018 India Open Gold medallist Sanjeet had to forego his bout against Russian counterpart Daniel Lutai after suffering a cut on his forehead in the first round of the match.

In all, India are assured of 6 medals as 4 women and 2 men have reached the semi-finals. All the 6 Indian semi-finalists will be looking to earn the yellow metal when they enter the ring on Friday.

The 21st edition of this tournament is seeing a participation of 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.

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