Indian boxer Jamuna Boro scores from a right hook against Algerian Ouidad Sfouh during their 54kg pre-quarterfinal bout at the AIBA World Women’s Boxing Championships in Ulan-Ude, Russia (Pic: AIBA).
Five Indians — six-time champion MC Mary Kom (51kg), last edition’s bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), debutant Jamuna Boro (54kg), Manju Rani (48kg) and Kavita Chahal (+81kg) entered the quarterfinals of the AIBA World Women’s Boxing Championships in Ulan-Ude, Russia.
Kom, chasing her first world title in the 51kg division after making the jump keeping the Olympic Games in mind, had to work hard in the initial stages of the bout before getting the measure of Thailand’s Jutamas Jitpong. She eventually earned a 5-0 victory on October 7.
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The 36-year-old London Olympics bronze medalist has a lot at stake at the Worlds. She was given exemption from fighting in the national trials in August despite challenges from young and talented boxers such as Nikhat Zareen. It is understood that a medal in Ulan-Ude would make Kom the automatic choice for 51kg when the Olympic qualification tournaments come around next year.
For now though, Kom has a huge challenge in the form of Rio Olympics bronze medalist Ingrit Valencia of Colombia in the next round.
On October 8, it was a chance for the upcoming boxers in the Indian squad to make a mark. Jamuna Boro, the debutant, outpunched fifth-seeded Algerian Ouidad Sfouh, an African Games gold-medallist, for a unanimous verdict. Boro faces fourth seeded Belarus boxer Yuliya Apanasovich, who is a bronze medallist at the European Championships next.
Boro opened the proceedings for India on the day. Despite being slow off the blocks, the 22-year-old donned the aggressor ́s role as the bout progressed. In the second and third round, Boro, who won gold in the India Open earlier this year, impressed upon the judges with crisp and cleanly-struck straights.
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The last bout of the first session of the day featured Borgohain, who took time to find her rhythm against Morocco’s Oumayma Bel Ahbib. The Indian stuck to a game plan which involved maintaining distance from Ahbib. And from the distance, Borgohain launched her counter attacks even as the Moroccan lunged with some desperate jabs. Sixth-seeded Karolina Koszewska of Poland awaits Borgohain in the next round.
(With inputs from PTI)
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