CWG 2018

Boxing: Mary Kom quashes retirement ‘rumours’ ahead of Asian Games

Gold medallist Gaurav Solanki spoke about re-gaining control after a tough semi-final after he was knocked down twice.

New Delhi: Mary Kom, fresh off a Commonwealth gold medal in her first-ever appearance at the Games, quashed any rumours about an impending retirement.

Speaking after returning to New Delhi, she said, “There is no talk of retirement. I have never said that. The plan is to participate at the Asian Games and at the World Championships and hopefully the Olympics in 2020.”

“I will continue as long as my body and the Boxing Federation of India allow me to,” the veteran boxer joked.

The Indian boxing contingent will take a break for a few days before heading to the United States for physical training, while the second string side will participate in a tournament in Serbia.

Gaurav Solanki, another gold medallist from Gold Coast was also present as he spoke about his experience. “Yes, I had hoped and expected I would win gold. You always go into a tournament hoping to win gold.”

The Faridabad-born Solanki spoke about slowing down the tempo and asserting more control in his final bout, after the twin knockdowns he suffered during his semi-final fight, “At that moment, I realised I had gone very aggressive against my opponent (Sri Lankan Vidanalange Bandara). He was powerful with a heavy punch. I got knocked down but there was no nervousness. The coach (Santiago Nieva) asked me to go for it in the second and third round.”

Interesting, Solanki and final opponent Brendan Irvine had sparred in Canberra as preparations for the Games prior to their bout and had studied each other’s technique.

Amit Panghal and Satish Kumar, beaten finalists were disappointed after their losses, but both said they had taken it in their stride. Super heavyweight Satish spoke about the fact that he thought he had edged the firt two rounds against England’s Frazier Clarke.

“He won the last round, yes, but I thought I had edged the first two,” said the super heavyweight Satish. Panghal looked forward to the Asian Games and tougher competition, “I am pretty happy with all my bouts. I dominated the semi-final and I could have won the final as well. In the Asian Games, we’ll have stiff competition from Uzbekistan.”

Panghal also had developed an elbow injury after the first round of the final. “It happened after the first round and I couldn’t move my left hand. I had to defend a lot more and I was also suffering from exhaustion,” Panghal spoke of his final bout against England’s Galai Yafai.

Coach Nieva was pretty satisfied with the performance of the contingent and reckoned that the haul could have been larger if some decisions had gone their way, “The finals of Manish [Kaushik], Satish [Kumar] and Amit [Panghal] could have gone either way. On another day, we would have walked out with the first spot.”

England, incidentally, won the first position with six gold medals as India finished second with three of each colour. Nieva also spoke about Naman Tanwar’s unusual technique, “We try to encourage him in the style that he’s comfortable with. At the world level, there will be many boxers with his reach and size, so there’s a few things he needs to work on. He is a quick learner, however, and we will try to get the best out of him.”

Tanwar, himself, was very clear that this is the only style that has always appealed to him, “I have boxed this way from the very start, with an open stance. This is my confidence, my will to do it that I fight like this. Boxing is changing, and everyone has his own style. No two boxers are the same, and I hope I continue to fight like this.”

The 19-year-old won a bronze in the heavyweight division but is surely one to look out for, due to his eye-catching open stance.

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