Indian boxers regaled their roaring fans with a bountiful of eight gold medals in the SpiceJet India Open International Boxing Tournament, led by the inimitable Mary Kom, Sanjeet, Manish Kaushik, Pwilao Basumatary, Lovlina Borgohain, Pinky and Maneesha and Amit at the Thyagaraja Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday.
Uzbekistan and Cuba underlined their class and domination in the middle and heavy categories, helping themselves to five and four gold respectively.
Five-time world champion Mary Kom got the loudest cheers as she overcame pain and a determined opponent 4-1 in Josie Gabuco of the Philippines in the light-fly final.
She began on a cautious note, ensuring that she had enough power and punch left for the final rounds. She showed her swiftness and experience as she beat Josie Gabuco.
India had as many as 18 boxers in the 18-card final. Assam would be particularly proud of their ladies, with Pwilao and Lovlina emerging as the next generation of golden girls.
Pwilao got the better of Sudaporn Seesondee (Thailand) 3-2 in the light-welter category while Lovlina had it easier against Pooja in the Welter division.
The country, however, suffered an unexpected setback in the form of former world champion Sarita Devi. She lost to Finland’s Marjut Mira Potkonan by a split decision in the lightweight category.
Sanjeet began the gold march in the men’s heavyweight category, as he managed a split decision verdict over fancied Sanjar Tursunov of Uzbekistan.
India’s second disappointment came in the middleweight division where Cameroon’s lanky and wiry Essiane Clotilde easily beat Saweety Boora. She brooked no opposition and scripted short route victories, both, in the semifinal and the final to take the gold.
Uzbekistan’s Bobo-Usmon Baturov was the most effective boxer, notching a convincing victory over India’s Dinesh in the welterweight category.
Cuba who lost their opening bout of the morning when Iglesias Estrada fell to Uzbekistan’s Israel Madrimov, continued their impressive run in the tournament with David Osvary Gutierrez getting a 4-1 win over India’s Devanshu Jaiswal in the heavyweightweight division.
Late in the evening, India’s Anwar Salman Shaikh raised visions of fetching India another gold when he fought Uzbekistan’s Khudoynazar Fayzov ragged, both boxers intimidating and enticing each other to take a shot at their face while exposing it for a punch. Though Anwar was more on target, the Uzbek boxer’s overall scoring was eventually higher than that of the Indian to win gold.
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