India’s Lovlina Borgohain is on the cusp of making history as she aims to become the first Indian boxer to reach an Olympic final.
She beat Chen Nien-Chin, a former world champion in the quarter-final to assure herself of a medal and book a place in the welterweight semi-final.
Having already beaten two top-ranked ranked boxers on her way to the semi-final, Lovlina will feel confident ahead of the all-important clash but she faces the toughest test so far as she goes up against reigning world champion and current World No 1 Busenaz Surmeneli.
Surmeneli, like Lovlina, is just 23 and taking part in her first Olympics, but had come into the Games with a great reputation.
The Turkish boxer used to earlier compete in the middleweight but dropped down to welterweight in 2019 and found instant success by winning the world championship gold the same year. In her new weight category, Surmeneli has won five medals apart from the world championship one and four out of those five medals have been gold.
She has been dominant in the weight category and it was evident in her 4-0 win over China’s Yang Liu in the 2019 world championship final. Liu had reached the gold medal match having beaten Lovlina 3-2 in the semi-final.
Surmeneli's career achievements
|2019 AIBA World C'ship||Gold|
|2019 European Boxing C'ship||Bronze|
|2019 Grand Prix Usti||Gold|
|2020 Bocksai Memorial||Gold|
|2021 Bocksai memorial||Gold|
Surmeneli’s build-up to the Olympics was far from easy as she was taking care of her mother who suffered due to Covid-19. Her training had to take a back seat during that period but that seems to have not hampered her one bit.
She won gold at the Bocksai memorial for two straight years in 2020 and 2021 and has won both her bouts at Tokyo so far with a unanimous decision of 5-0.
Surmeneli's results at Tokyo 2020
|Round of 16||Karolina Koszewska (Poland)||5-0 (Won on points)|
|Quarter-final||Anna Lysenko (Ukraine)||5-0 (Won on points)|
Surmeneli is quite an aggressive boxer and likes to dominate her opponents with a barrage of punches. Lovlina will have her task cut out against the Turkish boxer and will have to count on her movement to counter her threat.
The Indian has used different ways to beat her opponents and her height has been a significant advantage for her. Against Surmeneli, who is just a centimetre taller than Chen Nien-Chin, Lovlina will still enjoy that advantage.
The Assamese boxer rattled her Chinese Taipei opponent with some early blows but Surmeneli is mentally strong and has shown in the past that she can bounce back.
“You cannot intimidate me with your fists. The punch I take breaks me very hard. When I see that my punches do not drop the opponent, I want to throw more. I like to play attack,” she said to a Turkish website before travelling to Tokyo according to the Olympics.com.
The two boxers have never crossed paths before so there is a chance for either boxer to set the tone in the bout. Lovlina has shown that she can rise to any challenge but in Surmeneli she faces her toughest task to date.
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