In the Asian Boxing Championship, being held in Dubai, Indian woman boxers put up a good show. Six-time world champion Mary Kom (51kg) won a hard-fought semi-final bout. She will face a pugilist from Kazakhstan in the final. Sakshi Choudhary (54 kg) won her semi-final with a 3-2 scoreline. The jury later overturned it after the Kazakhstan team reviewed the decision.
Three other female boxers Lalbuatsaihi (64kg), Pooja Rani (75kg), and Anupama (81+), entered the finals of their weight categories.
Mary Kom Enters the Final
Competing in the 51kg semi-final bout, Mary Kom had a defensive start. Her Mongolian opponent Lutsaikhan Atlantsetseg came out swinging. Atlantsetseg used her height advantage to good effect. She used her reach and height to land a few quick blows. Her left cross was quite effective. Mary Kom struggled on the defence and lost the first round.
After a sluggish start, she found her feet in the second round. Mary Kom countered the reach of the opponent with her speed. In the second round, she made her opponent work hard. She landed timely and powerful punches that put pressure on Atlantsetseg.
She told PTI, “It has taken a lot to adjust to the humid weather here. Today, I was a bit slow in the first round but got my rhythm in the second round onwards. I had already fought her once, so it didn’t take much to understand her gameplan.”
In the third round, Mary Kom continued to dominate her opponent. The veteran boxer used her powerful right hook quite effectively. She let down her guard as she pursued an aggressive approach. Atlantsetseg crouched in the final round for quick evasive action. However, the experience of Mary Kom helped her to clinch the bout.
Mary Kom will now face Kazakhstan’s two-time world champion Nazym Kyzaibay in the final. A victory in the final will see Mary Kom crowned the Asian champion for the sixth time.
Sakshi Loses Spot in Final
Sakshi Choudhary, boxing in the 54 kg weight category, won her semi-final bout. She defeated the top-seeded Dina Zholaman of Kazakhstan to enter the final. In a hard-fought bout, she scraped through with a narrow victory. The bout went in her favour with a scoreline of 3-2.
The Kazakhstan team challenged the decision of the regulation bout. Kazakhstan contested the resulted of the third round of the bout. They felt that the jury should have scored the round in favour of their boxer.
On review, the jury found their contention to be correct and overturned the original verdict. The overturned verdict in favour of the Kazakh boxer saw Sakshi out of view for the gold medal. She will now get the bronze medal.
The bout review system is a new addition to the sport of boxing. It was introduced by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) in 2019. Scores of 5-0 and 4-1 are not reviewable under the system. A 3-2 score in favour of Sakshi enabled the Kazakh team to review.
The jury reviewed the bout based on a protest lodged by the Kazakhstan team as per the rules.
The Indian contingent of – 9 men and ten women are expected to bring home the best medal haul. Of the ten women boxers in the delegation, five boxers are in contention for the gold medal.