As many as nine pugilists from Haryana stormed into the semi-finals in the National Boxing Championships at the JSW Institute in Vijaynagar on Friday.
They were closely followed by the Railways as eight of their boxers made it to the medal round while All India Police (AIP) had seven of their players progressing to the last four. Chandigarh and Punjab had two pugilists each in the semis.
There were no major upsets as all top boxers, including World Championships participants and medallists such as Lovlina Borgohain, Pinki Rani, Simranjit Kaur, Manisha Moun and Seema Poonia winning their bouts, mostly with RSC verdicts.
In the opening bout of the day, S Kalaivani of Tamil Nadu surprised AIP’s K Bina Devi in 48 kg, receiving a 4:1 verdict in her favour to take on Haryana’s Sanju, who beat Anchu Sabu of Kerala on points (5:0).
In fact, it was Sanju who paved the way for her state mates to follow suit, showing excellent temperament and maturity.
Rajni Singh of Uttar Pradesh, in a close bout, won a split verdict (3:2) against Swasti Arya of Rajasthan. Pinki Rani pounded Chandigarh’s Gargi 5:0 in the 51kg category. The other Haryana boxers that progressed included World Championship quarter-finalist Manisha Moun (54kg), Neeraj (60kg), Nisha (69kg) Nupur (75kg), Pooja Rani (81kg) and Anupama (+81).
Not to be outdone, the Railway boxers too had their share of success, entering the medal rounds convincingly. It began with Pooja Tokas in 48kg while Meenakshi (51kg), Siksha (54kg), Sonia Lather (57kg), Pwilao Basumatry (64kg), Pooja (69kg), Neetu (75kg), Bhagbati Kachari (81kg) and Seema Poonia (+81).
World Championship bronze medallist Lovilina won a close bout against Delhi’s Anjali (3:2), who kept her better known rival at bay with some great combination punches.
Anjali dominated the second round and had the measure of her opponent in the in the third as well. However, what worked in favour of the Assamese boxer was her first-round blows, particularly the lefts a few straights.
Veteran Kavita Chahal of AIP (+81 kg), beat the stuffing out of Kerala’s Anaswara PM to win on points (5:0) while Basanti Chanu (64kg), Sandhyarani Devi (57kg), Preeti Beniwal (60kg) and Nikhat Zareen (51kg) also made it to the medal rounds.