Mary Kom’s bid for a fifth Asian Boxing Championship gold medal is on track as she beat Japan’s Tsubasa Komura by unanimous decision in Ho Chi Minh in the 48 kg semi-final on Tuesday. The Manipuri, who won the bout 5-0, has progressed to the final for fifth time in six appearances at the event.
The Indian put up a dominant display in all three rounds of the contest, outmanoeuvring her opponent in emphatic fashion. However, it was Komura who started well, taking the attack to Mary Kom. During the closing stages of the first round, the five-time World Champion found her rhythm and landed a couple of solid jabs.
The Japanese fought hard to get back in the contest but the 34-year-old managed to hold off the former’s attacks. The final round was one-way traffic from the start with Mary Kom comfortably out-punching Komura.
The Indian all but sealed the contest with a series of ferocious hooks in the space of seconds.
Sonia battles through to final
Sonia Lather became the second Indian to move to the final after registering a win via unanimous decision against Uzbekistan’s Yodgoroy Mirzaeva in the 57 kg category semi-final.
The first three minutes were largely cagey but the contest opened up in the second round with Mirzaeva going on the offence. Despite her best efforts by mixing up cross-punches and jabs, Lather was solid in defence and was able to fend off the Uzbek’s attacks.
A couple of crucial hooks in the third round turned the tide in the 25-year-old’s favour. Mirzaeva, though, battled hard and had cornered Lather at will in round two but was unable to breach the staunch defence of the Indian. The former World Championships sliver medallist will face China’s Yin Junhua in the summit clash on Wednesday.
Sarita Devi suffers narrow defeat
Another veteran, L Sarita Devi, ran out of luck after going down fighting to China’s Dou Dan in the 64 kg semi-final. Tactically, the bout was fascinating with both competitors choosing their attacks with caution. There were several passages of offensive boxing from Dan and Sarita too.
The first round, as anticipated, witnessed few punches thrown from both pugilists. The contest came to life in the second with Dou using her clever footwork and her long reach to deceive Sarita. The former World Championships gold medallist also impressed as both went for the jugular in the final minute of round two.
Sarita looked spent in the third round, something that Dou capitalised en route to registering a win by unanimous decision.
Shiksha bows out
Shiksha Singh bowed out of the tournament, losing to Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yu-ting by unanimous decision in what was a one-sided bout in the 54 kg semi-final.
Lin got off to a flying start, using her long reach to good effect. Lin was particularly devastating with her left, landing hooks with consummate ease in the first two rounds. Shiksha made a valiant effort to find a foothold in the contest in the early exchanges of round three.
However, she had too much ground to cover and was unable to force the issue. Lin’s reflexes were lightening-quick and regularly pushed her opponent to the far corner.
Priyanka crashes out
Priyanka Choudhary crashed out of the tournament in the 60 kg semi-final match against South Korea’s Oh Yeon-ji by a unanimous decision. The Indian finished the bout well but allowing her opponent to dictate terms in the first two rounds proved to be a costly tactical move.
Choudhary too, much like her compatriots, took the safety-first approach in the opening round. The Korean, though, showed sharp footwork. Choudhary found herself pushed to the far corners of the ring. With Oh running out of gas in round three, Choudhary found her groove back, but it went in vain.
Lovlina loses to dominant Khalzova
Kazakhstan’s Valentina Khalzova was in fine form as she cruised to the 69 kg final, outplaying Lovlina Borgohain throughout the contest. Khalzova’s deft footwork and aggressive offensive game helped her get into a position of advantage early into in the game, and invited the Indian into tight exchanges at the corners.
Borgohain, under pressure, was forced to launch attacks of her own but the it was the Kazakh who came out on top, jabbing away to glory. Neither players registered anything of note in the third round but Khalzova’s imperious displays in the first two helped her seal the win, which came by unanimous decision.
Seema outmuscled by Ismatova
India’s day ended with Seema Punia bulldozed by Uzbekistan’s Guzai Ismatova in the 81+ kg semi-final with the latter also winning by a unanimous decision.
Punia found the going tough from the outset and failed to land a single punch in the opening round. Ismatova made full use of her strength, blocking out any attempt from Punia to get her offensive rhythm going in the game.
The 27-year-old’s suffered against Ismatova’s lethal jabs and was left with a lot of ground to cover at the end of round two. The Rajasthan-based boxer tapered off in the third round. Punia, however, was already assured of a medal even before she threw a punch as there are only four boxers in the 81 + category.