With 15 medals, the Indian contingent achieved the best-ever show at the Asian event.
Mary Kom finished her campaign with a silver medal at the 2021 ASBC Asian Boxing Championships after going down against the two-time world champion Nazym Kyzaibay in a 51kg final on Sunday. In the 75 kg category, Pooja Rani successfully defended her title after outpunching in-form Mavluda Movlonova to clinch her second successive gold in the tournament.
Apart from Mary Kom, Lalbuatsaihi (64kg) and Anupama (+81kg) claimed silver medals after suffering narrow defeats in their respective finals. While Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Jaismine (57kg), Sakshi Chaudhary (54kg), Monika (48kg) and Saweety (81kg) are among the Indian women pugilists who secured bronze with semi-final finish.
In the 51 kg clash, both the boxers started the summit clash with an aggressive mindset and soon exchanged powerful blows attempting to unsettle each other. The five-time Asian Championships gold medallist Mary Kom used all her experience against the Kazakh boxer. She made her work hard but it wasn’t enough as the latter tilted the hard-fought game successfully in her favour and emerged champion with a narrow 29-28, 28-29, 30-27, 29-28, 28-29 scoreline.
It is the second silver for Olympic-bound Mary Kom at the Asian Boxing Championships who has previously won titles on five occasions -2003, 2005, 2010, 2012 and 2017 besides silver in 2008.
Pooja Rani was up against a strong Uzbekistan boxer, who came into the match beating London Olympics medallist Marina Volnova in the semifinal stage. Pooja showed great sharpness and tactical brilliance and put pressure on the opponent with timely punches.
She continued her relentless attack and left no chance for Uzbek boxer to fight back before completing a comprehensive 5-0 victory and winning her second successive gold medal at the Asian Championships. It is also Pooja’s fourth medal at the championships after gold in 2019, silver in 2012 and a bronze in 2015.
Earlier, Lalbuatsaihi gave her all in another close-fought gold medal but couldn’t manage to get past Milana Safronova of Kazakhstan and suffered a 2-3 defeat to win silver medal in her first outing at the Championships. Another Indian boxer Anupama (+81) also ended up with silver as she lost to Lazzat Kungeibayeva of Kazakhstan 2-3 in yet another nail-biting final.
The 19-member Indian contingent claimed their best-ever show by securing record 15 medals while surpassing their previous highest of 13 medals (2 gold, 4 silver and 7 bronze) from the 2019 edition in Bangkok.
Panghal will be up against the Rio Olympics and world champion Uzbek pugilist Zoirov Shakhobidin of Uzbekistan. While Assam boxer Thapa will be challenged by the Asian Games silver medallist Mongolia’s Baatarsukh Chinzorig. Second seeded Sanjeet will also have a strong challenge of the Rio Olympics silver medallist Vassiliy Levit, who is chasing his fourth gold medal of the Asian Championships.
Eight Indian pugilists Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Jaismine (57kg), Sakshi Chaudhary (64kg), Monika (48kg), Saweety (81kg) and Varinder Singh (60kg) secured bronze medals with their semi-final finish at the event which witnessed the presence of 150 boxers from 17 countries including strong boxing nations such as India, Uzbekistan, Philippines and Kazakhstan.