Kolkata: M.C. Mary Kom, the celebrated Indian boxer, had to settle for the silver medal when she went down 3-2 to Nazym Kyzaibay, a world champion in the 51kg class, in the final on the penultimate day of the Asian Boxing Championship in Dubai on Saturday.
While the Olympic bronze medallist failed to add a sixth gold medal in the Asian meet, the event – where she was seeded in the quarter finals – would serve as a valuable exposure before the Tokyo Olympics.
In the men’s finals on Monday, India’s Amit Panghal will look to defend his title when he will be up against the Rio Olympic and world champion Zoirov Shakhobidin of Uzbekistan in the gold medal match. Assam boxer Thapa, who has been impressive and the joint most successful male boxer in the Championships with five consecutive medals, will be challenged by the Asian Games silver medallist Mongolia’s Baatarsukh Chinzorig.
Second seeded Sanjeet will fight against the Rio Olympics silver medallist Vassiliy Levit, who is chasing his fourth gold medal of the Asian Championships.
A nine-member Indian contingent has already qualified for the Summer Games in Tokyo, scheduled in July-August. Eight Indian pugilists Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Jaismine (57kg), Sakshi Chaudhary (64kg), Monika (48kg), Saweety (81kg) and Varinder Singh (60kg) secured bronze medals with their semi-final finish at the event which has witnessed the presence of 150 boxers from 17 countries including boxing nations such as India, Uzbekistan, Philippines and Kazakhstan.