Neeraj (57kg) stunned 2016 World Champion Alessia Mesiano to enter the final at the Magomed Salam Umakhanov Memorial International Boxing Tournament 2019 in Kaspiysk, Russia on Friday.
Neeraj and Mesiano had the crowd on their feet with their exceptional display of attacking boxing. Both boxers refused to back down but Neeraj landed a series of clear punches in the final round to edged past the Italian 3-2 and secure her berth in the final.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gaurav Solanki and 2019 India Open silver medallist Govind Sahani assured two more medals for India by entering the semi-finals.
Solanki, a bronze medallist at this year’s India Open, defeated Russia’s Maksim Chernyshev 3-2 in a split-decision verdict to enter the last-four round of 56kg category on Thursday. He initially played patiently against his Russian opponent before increasing the tempo with a flurry of punches to secure the win.
Later, Sahani, a silver medallist at the GeeBee Boxing earlier this year, outboxed Tajikistan’s Shermukhammad Rustamov in the 49kg category to earn the first RSC win of the tournament.
Sahani dominated the proceedings from the word go and showed great display of his attacking prowess. He continued the onslaught throughout the match, forcing the referee to stop the contest in the third round.
However, it was curtains for Ashish Insha in the quarter-finals of the 52kg division, losing 1-4 to Russia’s Islamitdin Alisoltanov. The match was in the balance till the last round before Ashish conceded a few clear punches in the dying minutes of the tie to suffer the defeat.
The 2018 India Open gold medallist Sanjeet had to forego his bout against Russian counterpart Daniel Lutai after suffering a cut on his forehead in the first round of the match. India are assured of six medals as four women and two men have reached the semi-finals.