Former world junior champion Nikhat Zareen (51kg) led five Indian boxers into the finals as the semi-final action concluded at the Thailand Open international boxing tournament in Bangkok on Friday.
Along with Zareen, the others aiming for the gold on Saturday will be Asian Championships silver medallist Deepak (49kg), GeeBee Boxing silver medallist Mohammed Hussamuddin (56kg), Asian Championships silver medallist Ashish Kumar (75kg), and India Open silver medallist Brijesh Yadav (81kg).
The journey of Manju Rani (48kg), Ashish (69kg) and Bhagyabati Kachari (75kg), however, came to an end in the semi-finals as they had to settle for bronze.
Having begun the year with a gold medal at the Strandja Cup, the Asian Championships bronze medallist Nikhat Zareen looked in no mood to stop as she booked her place in the final with a 4-1 win over Thailand’s Jutamas Jitpong. In the final, she will face China’s Asian Games gold medallist Chang Yuan in what would be a tough bout.
Deepak blazed past Bhutan’s Tashi Wangdi 5-0 to set up a showdown with Uzbekistan’s Mirzakhmedov Nodirjon.
In the bantamweight category, Hussamuddin passed a stern test to register a narrow 3-2 win over Thailand’s Ammarit Yaodam for a meeting with the reigning India Open champion Chatchai Decha Butdee.
Ashish Kumar will hunt for the gold after a 4-0 victory over Uzbek Fanat Kakhramonov. Korea’s Kim Jinjae will be his opponent in the final showdown.
In 81kg, Brijesh landed a flurry of punches to knock out Saranon Klompan of Thailand before being declared the winner by RSC in Round 2. Up next for him is Thailand’s Anawat Thongkratok.
Strandja Cup silver medallist Manju Rani failed to breach the barrier of Thailand’s former World Championships bronze medallist Chuthamat Raksat, who inflicted a 4-1 defeat on the Indian.
While Ashish succumbed to a 1-4 defeat to Thailand’s former Asian Games champion Wuttichai Masuk, Bhagyabati Kachari was outplayed 0-5 by China’s Rio Olympic bronze medallist Li Qian.