Asian Boxing C’ship: Pooja Rani clinches gold as Indian women sign off with 10 medals

Dubai : Defending champion Pooja Rani (75kg) outpunched in-form Mavluda Movlonova in the finals to clinch her second successive gold at the Asian Boxing Championships as Indian women ended their campaign with one gold, three silver and six bronze medals, here.

The Olympics-bound pugilist Pooja on Sunday was up against a strong Uzbekistan boxer, who came into the match beating London Olympics medallist Marina Volnova in the last-4 stage.

Pooja showed great sharpness and tactical brilliance and put pressure on the opponent with timely punches. She continued her relentless attack and left no chance for Uzbek boxer to fight back before completing a comprehensive 5-0 victory and winning her second successive gold medal at the Asian Championships.

It is also Pooja’s fourth medal at the championships after gold in 2019, silver in 2012 and a bronze in 2015.

However, the seasoned campaigner Mary Kom (51kg), Lalbuatsaihi (64kg) and Anupama (+81kg) claimed silver medals after suffering narrow defeats in their respective finals.

Mary Kom lost to the two-time world champion Nazym Kyzaibay by split 2-3, while Lalbuatsaihi (64kg) also gave her all in another close-fought gold medal but couldn’t manage to get past Milana Safronova of Kazakhstan and suffered a 2-3 defeat to win silver medal in her maiden outing at the Championships.

In the 51kg high-octane summit clash, both Mary Kom and her Kazakh opponent started the bout with aggressive mindset and soon exchanged powerful blows attempting to unsettle each other.

The five-time Asian Championships gold medallist Mary Kom used all her experience against Kayzaibay and made her work hard but it wasn’t enough as the later tilted the hard-fought game successfully in her favour and emerged champion with a narrow 29-28, 28-29, 30-27, 29-28, 28-29 scoreline.

It is the second silver for Mary Kom at the Asian Championships who has previously won titles on five occasion – 2003, 2005, 2010, 2012 and 2017 besides silver in 2008.

Later, another Indian boxer Anupama (+81) also ended up with silver as she lost to Lazzat Kungeibayeva of Kazakhstan 2-3 in yet another nail-biting final.

Along with the gold and three silver medals from Sunday, six Indian women boxers had earlier won a bronze, including Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Sakshi Chaudhary (54kg), Monika (48kg), Jasmine (57kg) and Saweety Boora (81kg).

The 19-member Indian contingent has claimed their best-ever show by securing record 15 medals in the on-going prestigious Championships, which is jointly hosted by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) and UAE Boxing Federation.

With this, they surpassed their previous highest of 13 medals (2 gold, 4 silver and 7 bronze) from the 2019 edition in Bangkok.

The event will conclude on Monday with the men’s finals, where three Indian boxers – Amit Panghal (52kg), Shiva Thapa (64kg), Sanjeet (91kg) – will feature.

Vikas Krishan (69kg) and Varinder Singh (60kg) secured bronze medals in the men’s section with their semi-final finish at the event which witnessed the presence of 150 boxers from 17 countries including strong boxing nations such as India, Uzbekistan, the Philippines and Kazakhstan.

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has allocated USD 4,00,000 prize money for this Championships. The gold medallists of men’s and women’s categories will be awarded with USD 10,000 while both the silver and bronze medal winners will take home USD 5,000 and 2,500 respectively.