Asian boxing: Pooja Rani provides the golden touch for Indian women

Boxing - Pooja Rani
Pooja Rani (right) stood out on Sunday evening by emerging as the lone Indian gold medallist in Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Kolkata: Pooja Rani provided the golden touch to India’s campaign when she defended her title after outpunching in-form Mavluda Movlonova at the ASBC Asian Boxing Championships as Indian women ended their campaign with one gold, three silver and six bronze medals in Dubai on Sunday.

Veteran Mary Kom (51kg), Lalbuatsaihi (64kg) and Anupama (+81kg) claimed silver medals after suffering narrow defeats in their respective finals. Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Jaismine (57kg), Sakshi Chaudhary (54kg), Monika (48kg) and Saweety (81kg) are among the Indian women pugilists who secured bronze with semi-final finishes earlier.

The Tokyo Olympics-bound pugilist Pooja Rani (75kg) was up against a strong Uzbekistan boxer, who came into the match beating London Olympics medallist Marina Volnova in the last four. The tall Indian attacked relentlessly and left no chance for the Uzbek boxer to fight back before completing a comprehensive 5-0 victory and winning her second successive gold medal. It is also Pooja’s fourth medal at the championships after gold in 2019, silver in 2012 and a bronze in 2015.

Boxing - Mary Kom
Mary Kom, the iconic Indian boxer (right), had to finish with a silver against Kazakh Nazym Kyzaibay, albeit in a split decision. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Earlier, Mary Kom, Lalbuatsaihi finished their campaigns with silver medals after going down fighting in their respective semi-finals. While Mary Kom lost to the two-time world champion Nazym Kyzaibay by split 2-3, 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 debut appearance.

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.