MC Mary Kom is on course to claim India’s first Commonwealth Games gold in women’s boxing after her defeat of Sri Lanka’s Anusha Dilrukshi Koddithuwak in the 48 kg bout.
The five-time world champion and Olympic bronze-medallist defeated a defensive Koddithuwak, 39, 5-0 to make the summit clash in her debut appearance at the Games.
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Among the men, debutant Gaurav Solanki (52kg) made the semifinals as did Rio 2016 quarter-finalist Vikas Krishan Yadav (75kg).
“It was difficult in the sense that this girl would just not come to me. I had to be careful because she was perhaps waiting for me to let my guard down,” Mary Kom said after the bout.
Mary, 35, prevailed in the battle of veterans – a rather dull one – wherein clean punches were few and far.
Despite being taller, Koddithuwak struggled to connect on most occasions. She picked up pace in the final three minutes but the experienced Mary thwarted her.
Mary will square off against Northern Ireland’s Kristina O’Hara in the final. O’Hara, a carer at a nursing home in her country, defeated 19-year-old New Zealander Tasmyn Benny in the semifinals.
Sarita Devi loses to home favourite Anja Stridsman
However, another Indian veteran L Sarita Devi (60kg) failed to secure a medal after going down to Australia’s Anja Stridsman in the quarter-final.
The former world and Asian champion Indian found the crowd favourite’s power difficult to handle and was also troubled by her ill-fitting headguard.
“It was distracting and I think this other girl was very good. I could not handle the power of her punches. Besides, home turf always brings out the best in you, which was the case with her today,” said the Manipuri boxer.
In the men’s draw, Army boxer Solanki dodged a tricky opponent in Papua New Guinea’s Charles Keama in hs quarterfinal bout.
The 21-year-old managed to evade several attempts at head-butts by his rival in a bout he eventually claimed 5-0.
“It was a risky fight. He was trying to hit me but I think my reflexes were very sharp so I managed to outwit him,” he said.
Vikas Krishan Yadav, who was one win away from winning a medal at the Rio Olympics, ensured one in Gold Coast as he recorded a comfortable 5-0 win over Zambia’s Benny Muziyo. In a tactical bout, Yadav took his time to get going against the aggressive Zambian but it was a straightforward decision in the end.
More to follow...
(With PTI inputs)