Kolkata: Six-time world champion Mary Kom and defending champion Amit Panghal gave their build-up for Tokyo Olympics a boost by being among the seven Indian pugilists who contest the finals at the 2021 ASBC Asian Boxing Championships in Dubai.
While Mary Kom, alongside Pooja Rani (75kg), Anupama (+81kg) and Lalbuatsahi (64kg) will play their respective final bouts on Sunday after a rest day, Panghal, Shiva Thapa (64kg) and Sanjeet (91kg) will be in action on Monday.
Aiming for the sixth gold medal in just seven appearances, London 2012 bronze medallist Mary Kom will face a stiff challenge from the two-time world champion Kazakh boxer Nazym Kyzaibay in the 51kg final. Olympic-bound Pooja Rani, who received a walkover in the semi-finals, will fight against an in-form Mavluda Movlonova of Uzbekistan, who ended the challenge of London Olympics medallist Marina Volnova in the last four stage. It won’t be also easy for Lalbuatsaihi and Anupama, will also face strong Kazakh boxers in their respective finals.
In the men’s section, Panghal will look to defend his title when he will be up against the Rio Olympics and world champion Uzbek pugilist Zoirov Shakhobidin of Uzbekistan in the gold medal match. Thapa, who has been impressive and the jointly the most successful male boxer in the history of the championship 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 silver medallist Vassiliy Levit, who is chasing his fourth gold medal of the Asian Championships. 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 witnessed the presence of 150 boxers from 17 countries.