Mary Kom enters Asian Boxing Championships final in Dubai
The 38-year-old boxer will now be gunning for her sixth gold medal at the continental showpiece
Indian boxer Mary Kom brought all her experience and class to the ring in Dubai as she entered the final of the ASBC Asian Boxing Championships with a comprehensive victory in the semifinal over Lutsaikhan Altantsetseg on Thursday.
The six-time world champion registered a 4-1 win over her Mongolian opponent in the women’s 51kg semifinal.
The seasoned campaigner made a defensive start and took her time in the first round. Mary then made the Mongolian opponent work hard and looked in good touch in the next round as she landed powerful punches that put the pressure on Altantsetseg.
Mary, who is playing only her second event since the lockdown, kept her calm and used all her experience to take charge of the game and completed a 4-1 win.
The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist is hoping for a good performance in Dubai ahead of the Tokyo Games.
“A good performance here (in Dubai) will be a massive boost as it is the last tournament before the Olympics. More than that, it will be crucial to check my progress as well as note the areas where work is needed,” Mary had told Khaleej Times in a recent interview.
Having won six medals already in the Asian Championships, including five gold, Mary will be up against Kazakhstan’s two-time world champion Nazym Kyzaibay in the final.
Kyzaibay entered the final beating Sri Lankan boxer Nadeeka Pushpakumari with the referee stopping the contest (RSC) after the first round.
Meanwhile, extending the winning momentum, two-time youth world champion Sakshi pulled off a power-packed performance and upstaged the 2016 world champion Dina Zholaman of Kazakhstan 3-2 in the 54kg semifinal clash.
Earlier in the 48kg semifinal bout, Monika gave her all and fought hard but fell short against the second seeded Kazakh boxer Alua Balkibekova.
The Indian boxer suffered a 5-0 defeat and secured a bronze medal for the country.
The prestigious event, which is being jointly hosted by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) and UAE Boxing Federation, carries a prize money of $4,00,000.
The gold medallists in men’s and women’s categories will receive $10,000, while the silver and bronze medal winners will take home $5,000 and $2,500 respectively.
With 15 medals confirmed in the event, the Indian contingent achieved their best ever medal haul, bettering the previous best of 13 that they had won in the 2019 edition in Bangkok.
India had finished third with two gold, four silver and seven bronze medals in Bangkok.
As many as 150 boxers from 17 countries are participating in the Dubai event.
Five male boxers, including defending champion Amit Panghal (52kg), Shiva Thapa (64kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Varinder Singh (60kg) and Sanjeet (91kg) will be seen competing in the semifinals on Friday.
Shiva Thapa, who has secured a record fifth successive medal at the Asian Championships, will take on top seed Bakhodur Usmonov of Tajikistan.
Panghal faces Kazakh boxer Saken Bibossinov, whom he beat in the 2019 World Championships semifinals while Vikas will take on defending champion Bobo Usmon Baturov of Uzbekistan.
During the men’s quarterfinals played late on Wednesday, Indian pugilists Ashish Kumar (75kg) and Narender (+91kg) suffered defeats against strong Kazakh opponents.
Ashish went down fighting 3-2 against Asian Games silver medallist Abilkhan Amankul while Narender lost his bout 0-5 to two-time world championships silver medallist Kamshibek Kunkabayev.
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