Defending Champions Railways dominated the proceedings as eight of their boxers, led by World Championships silver medallist Sonia Chahal (57kg) and India Open Gold medallist Bhagyabati Kachari (75kg) stormed into the final of the Women’s National Boxing Championships at the Mundayad Indoor Stadium, in Kerala on Saturday.

2016 National Champion Sonia showed her experience and composure as she faced the challenge of young boxer Ritu from Chandigarh. The lanky boxer from Haryana took advantage of her height and relied on counter-punches to win the bout unanimously. Sonia will face Youth World Champion Sakshi in the finals.

Youth World Champion Jyoti representing Railways, had an easy outing as she controlled the bout and defeated Manipur’s Soibam Devi 5-0 in the 51kg category.

One of the best bouts of the day was played between two-time World Championships bronze medallist Kavita Chahal (81+kg) and Himachal Pradesh’s Monika with both the boxers engaging in a highly entertaining bout. Seasoned Kavita displayed her experience and reigned supreme in the end with a 3-2 split verdict in her favour.

Meenakumari Devi (54 kg), last year’s gold medallist, continued her title defence with an easy 5-0 win over Divya Pawar of Madhya Pradesh. Last year’s silver medallist, Bhagyabati Kachari (81kg) continued her fine run and showed her class against Lalfakmawii Ralte of All India Police to notch up a 5-0 win.

Kerala’s Indraja (75kg) scripted one of the upsets of the day as she defeated last year’s bronze medallist Imroz Khan 4-1 in the semi- final. Spurred on by the home crowd, the local girl set the ring on fire with her relentless attacking approach. She will face last year’s silver medallist Nupur of Haryana in the finals.

Former Youth World Champion Ankushita Boro (64kg), representing Assam, was at her attacking best against Uttar Pradesh’s Aradhana Patel and won via RSC in the second round. She will fight for the coveted gold medal against fellow Assam Boxer, Pwilao Basumatary, who is representing Railways.

Former Asian Championships silver medallist Pavitra (60kg) continued her fine run on her comeback as she trounced Maharashtra’s Poonam Kaithwas 5-0. She will face 2017 World Youth Champion Shashi Chopra from Haryana in the final on Sunday. Shashi blanked All India Police’s Rekha Tewatia 5-0 earlier on Saturday.

The finals will witness eight boxers from Railways and five boxers from Haryana fight for the top honours.

Vanlal Duati challenges semi-final loss

India Open silver-medallist and defending champion Vanlal Duati (51kg) on Saturday said she was robbed of a win at the ongoing Women’s National Boxing Championships in Kannur and has challenged her 2-3 semi-final loss to Haryana’s Ritu.

The Mizo boxer, who is a five-time national medallist, said her loss was nothing short of cheating. The Boxing Federation of India has assured her of a decision on her appeal by 7am on Sunday.

“A judge (Neelam Punia) was replaced by another (DS Raju) just at the end of the first round, all of a sudden, no reason was given. I have never complained about any loss in my career but I feel robbed today,” Duati told PTI.

“I have paid Rs 5,000 and sought a review. They will tell me on Sunday morning at 7pm, what is the point of it. Tomorrow is the final. I don’t have any hope,” she added.

Duati had lost to the MC Mary Kom in the final of the India Open earlier this year.

A top BFI official said judges can be changed in the bout only with the permission of the supervisor and only in extraordinary circumstances. It is being investigated whether due procedure was followed in this case.

“Punia was changed because she was affiliated to perhaps one of the competing boxers’ units. We will have to see whether the supervisor’s permission was duly taken in this,” he said.