Shiva Thapa, Simranjit Kaur lead India’s charge into semi-finals

Shiva Thapa, Simranjit Kaur lead India’s charge into semi-finals

India’s assured medal tally swelled to 12 as the country’s boxers advanced to the semi-finals with impressive victories on Tuesday in the Asian Championships in Dubai.

Sanjeet (91kg), Sakshi (54kg), Jaismine (57kg) and the Olympic-bound Simranjit Kaur (60kg) joined Shiva Thapa (64kg) in the last four stage following late night wins in their quarter-final bouts on Tuesday.

They added to the seven medals, including that of six-time world champion MC Mary Kom (51kg), that were assured on the day of draws.

Seasoned Thapa (64kg) secured his fifth successive medal at the Asian Championships after out-punching Kuwait’s Nader Odah in the last-eight stage in Dubai on Tuesday. Thapa prevailed 5-0 in a lop-sided clash to set up a showdown with defending champion and top seed Bakhodur Usmonov of Tajikistan.

India Open gold-medal winner Sanjeet defeated Jasur Qurbonov of Tajikistan 5-0 to enter the semi-finals in the men’s draw along with Thapa. His next opponent is last edition’s silver-medallist Sanjar Tursunov of Uzbekistan who has been seeded third this year.

In the women’s competition, Sakshi (54kg) got the better of Tajikistan’s Ruhafzo Haqazarova 5-0 to set up a clash against top seed Dina Zholaman of Kazakhstan. Jaismine edged past Oyuntsetseg Yesugen of Mongolia 4-1 and will now square off against Vladislava Kukhta of Kazakhstan.

Simranjit, who recently recovered from Covid-19, defeated Raykhona Kodirova of Uzbekistan 4-1. Her next opponent is also a Kazakh in Rimma Volossenko.

However, Commonwealth Games bronze-winner Mohammed Hussamuddin (56kg) went down to Uzbekistan’s reigning world champion Mirazizbek Mirzahalilov in a fiercely-fought quarter-final. The Indian boxer lost 1-4 after giving the top-seeded defending champion quite a fight.

In another disappointment for India, Iran’s Meysam Gheslaghi defeated Sumit Sangwan in the men’s light heavyweight (81kg) division in a late Monday night bout.

On Wednesday, India’s Olympic-bound men pugilists Amit Panghal (52kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg) and Ashish Kumar (75kg) will kick-start their campaign at the quarterfinal stages. Narender (+91) and Varinder Singh (60kg) are the other two boxers who will also be keen to make winning starts in the tournament and confirm medals for the country.

World Championships silver-medallist and defending champion Panghal will face Mongolia’s Kharkhuu Enkhmandakh.

The two fought at the 2020 Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Amman, Jordan where the Indian had triumphed in a gruelling contest.

Asian Games champion Vikas Krishan will square off against Iran’s Moslem Malamir, while last edition’s silver-medal winner Ashish will face World Championships and Asian Games silver-medallist Abilkhan Amankul of Kazakhstan.

With Simranjit (60kg), Sakshi (54kg) and Jaismine (57kg) progressing into the last-4 stage and MC Mary Kom (51kg), Lalbuatsaihi (64kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Pooja Rani (75kg), Monika (48kg), Saweety (81kg) and Anupama (+81kg) kickstarting their campaign in the semi-finals, women’s team confirmed India a medal in each weight category.

All the 10 Indian women boxers, including six-time world champion Mary Kom, will be seen in action on the fourth day of the event on Thursday as they will play their respective semi-final matches.

With PTI Inputs

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