Harpal Singh Bedi / New Delhi
Defending champion Amit Panghal opened his campaign on a victorious note defeating Ukraine”s Nazar Kurotch 3-2 to book a place in the semi final as Indian puglists assured the country of five medals in 70th Strandja Memorial Boxing Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria on Sunday.,
More than 300 boxers between the ages of 19 and 40, hailing from over 40 countries, are participating in this event.
The Strandja Memorial, Europe’s oldest international amateur boxing tournament, is the first competitive event of the season for the Indian pugilists.
According to information received here the Indian women pugilists are also assured of four medals at the end of the third day at the prestigious competition.
Lovlina Borgohain, who won the bronze at the last year;s World Championship put up a robust display to beat Brazil’s Soarez Beatriz in a unanimous 5:0 victory to assure the first medal for the women boxers.
The Brazilian found no answer to Lovina’s attacking game as she secured her place in the top four.
Following suit was young boxer, Manju Rani who served Bonati Roberta of Italy the same fate, thrashing her with a unanimous 5-0 verdict. Manju, the current National Champion in 48 kg category sealed her berth in the semis.
.@Namantanwar248 (91kg) outplayed Michal Soczynski (UKR)to reach the quarterfinal of 70th International"Strandja"2019 Boxing Tournament. Kudos boy. Best wishes for the next matches. #PunchMeinHaiDum 👊🥊 pic.twitter.com/FgzFmu6H6c
— Boxing Federation (@BFI_official) February 17, 2019
Former world junior champion Nikhat Zareen (51kg) lived up to the expectations as she outclassed Buryam Yana (BLR) with a 5-0 verdict and assured yet another medal for India.
In the day’s last game for the women boxers, Neeraj defeated Amelia Moore from USA with a similar result to confirm the fifth medal and berth in the semi-final.
2016 World Championship silver winner, Sonia Lather, however, succumbed to an unfortunate defeat going down to Ramirez Yarisel of USA by 4-1 in the 57 kg category on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, the men’s team too posted positive results.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gaurav Solanki (52kg) and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Naman Tanwar (91kg) both advanced to the quarter-finals.
Solanki, who had an easy opening-round victory a day earlier, was made to work hard for his win this time.
In a highly competitive bout, he beat Kazakhstan’s Anvar Muzaparov by a 3-2 verdict en route to the last eight where he will meet Uzbekistan’s Khudoynazar Fayzov, a 3-2 winner over Bulgaria’s Tinko Banabakov.
The 22-year-old, who also triumphed at the India Open last year, was a silver medallist at the Strandja Memorial in 2018 and is looking to improve the colour of the medal this time.
Naman Tanwar put up a scintillating show too, blasting his way past Poland’s Michal Soczynski 5-0 into the quarter-finals. Up next for the Indian is Ukrainian Serhii Horskov, who trounced Darko Stankovic 5-0.
India had its best-ever medal haul from this tournament last year when they grabbed an impressive total of 11 medals that included a couple of golds delivered by Vikas Krishan and Amit Panghal.