Harpal Bedi / Guwahati
ix-time world champion Mary Kom was crowned the 51kg champion while Amit Panghal (52kg) won his third gold medal of the year and Shiva Thapa finished on top in 60kg at the second edition of the India Open International Boxing Tournament at the Bordoloi AC Indoor Stadium here on Friday.
Fresh from winning her eighth medal at the Asian Championships, Sarita Devi added the India Open 60kg gold to her resume and Neeraj carried on her giant-killing form to stun Asian Championships bronze medallist Manisha Moun in 57kg.
Mary displayed her experience to blow away the challenge of Vanlal Duati in a facile 5-0 win. This was the London Olympic bronze medallist’s second gold from the India Open to add to the 48kg gold she won last year in New Delhi.
Panghal smartly evaded the taller Sachin Siwach’s attacks in the first round to begin with a defensive approach. It was towards the end of the second round that the Asian Games gold medallist found his rhythm and started choosing the right moments to land his blows over the former world youth champion. Amit dominated the third round to make his way to the yellow metal following gold medals from the Strandja Cup and Asian Championships in 2019.
“Sachin’s very tall. I think he’s the tallest boxer I faced till date. I fought with some tall boxers in the Asian Championship but Sachin is taller than them,” said Panghal after his win. “My strategy was to either get close to him or stay away from his range. By staying away, it also helped me to assess his technique and then get close to attack from close range,” he added.
Much to the delight of the crowd, Shiva Thapa grabbed the 60kg gold in a revenge bout against 2018 champion Manish Kaushik a year after losing to him in the semi-finals. The Guwahati boy, who won a bronze at the continental event this year, was fierce and aggressive and did not put a foot wrong in the 5-0 demolition.
Sarita Devi endured a tough fight from Simranjit Kaur to edge the World Championships bronze medallist for a 3-2 win. This was the former world champion’s first gold medal in any competition in three years following her victory at the South Asian Games in 2016 in Shillong. The veteran pugilist dedicated the prized medal to her mother whom she lost to cancer last year.
A day after knocking out World Championships silver medallist Sonia, Neeraj continued her sublime form to notch up a commanding 5-0 victory over Manisha, who had changed category from 54kg to 57kg.
Asian Championships bronze medallist Ashish showed his prowess in 69kg to soar to a 4-1 win over compatriot Duryodhan Singh Negi. Local girl Jamuna Boro delivered a flurry of punches that earned her a perfect 5-0 win over Y. Sandhyarani. World Championships bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain did not share the same fortunes despite vociferous cheers of support from the crowd. The 69kg exponent missed out on the gold in a tight contest where she ended up 2-3 to Italy’s Assunta Canfora.
There was no stopping Deepak in 49kg. Oozing confidence with every punch, the Asian Championships silver medallist knocked out Govind Kumar Sahani 5-0. Kavinder Singh Bisht had to settle for the silver in a 2-3 result in a hard-fought contest with 2015 Asian champion Chatchai Decha Butdee. This is Bisht’s second consecutive silver this year after the Asian Championships last month.
In 64kg, Rohit Tokas suffered a knee twist in the first round and was forced to forfeit his bout to 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Colin Louis Richarno of Mauritius. Tokas, who secured the India Open bronze a year before, had to be content with the silver.
Ashish Kumar’s hopes of adding the 75kg gold were dashed as he had to give a walkover to Philippines’s Eumir Felix Delos Santos due to a cut that he sustained on his forehead in the semi-finals.
Proud to have won bronze at the 2nd India Open after losing by split decision in a hard-fought semifinal against my idol. Lots to learn and I still have miles to go, but the goal remains the same- Winning India a medal at @Tokyo2020 .
Thank u for all the support throughout:) pic.twitter.com/k6h4whkjQQ
— Nikhat Zareen (@nikhat_zareen) May 25, 2019