Lovlina Borgohain and Pooja Rani assured themselves of their first Olympic berth while Vikas Krishan Yadav qualified for his third successive Olympics after reaching the semi-finals of their respective weight categories in the Asian Boxing Qualifiers in Amman, Jordan, on Sunday.
Along with them, Ashish Kumar (75kg men) and Satish Kumar (+91kg men) qualified for the Olympics as well after registering victories in their respective quarter-final bouts. Ashish Indonesia’s Muskita Maikhel Robberd while got the better of Mongolia’s Daivii Otgonbayar to reach semi-final.
In the evening session, Borgohain was in complete control against Maftunakhon Melieva of Uzbekistan as she earned an unanimous decision from the judges in the women’s 69kg weight category to join Rani and Yadav.
Earlier, Rani defeated Thailand’s Pornnipa Chutee by an unanimous decision to the reach the women’s 75 kg semi-final while Yadav had to stave off a charging Quincy Okazawa of Japan in the men’s 69kg quarter-finals.
Okazawa began the bout at an electric pace but the experienced Indian was quick to block the Japanese attack and find enough scoring opportunities to win the first round with a split 3-2 verdict.
This meant that Okazawa had to be a lot more aggressive in the second and third round. Yadav smartly used that to his advantage and landed quite a few right hook and straight punches to take a big advantage in the third and final round.
To his credit Okazawa gave the Indian a run for his money in the final round with a flurry of punches but the experienced Yadav did enough to clinch the quarter-final and a berth in the Tokyo Games.
Earlier, Pooja Rani came up with a clinical performance against the young Chutee.
The 29-year-old, who had won the Asian Championships gold medal last year in the 81 kg category, had cut down her weight considerably to have another shot at the Olympic berth after having failed four years ago.
She had received a favourable draw in 75kg category after being seeded fourth and made the most of it against an inexperienced opponent, dominating all the three rounds.
Rani was patient once it was clear that her much younger opponent was eager to take an aggressive approach and did enough in the opening round with her left jabs to take the early advantage.
This only meant that Chutee had to try even harder and that opened up enough opportunities for the Indian to counter-attack and score points.
There was, however, heartbreak for Sachin Kumar in the 81 kg category as he went down to Chen Daxaing of China in a split verdict. The Indian fought well in the opening round but fell in trap of passive boxing in the second and third as the tall Chinese used his better reach to score valuable points and clinch the quarter-final.
Top five boxers from each category would qualify for the Tokyo Games and Sachin Kumar would now have to win two more bouts to finish fifth and qualify.