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Olympic Boxing Test Event: Nikhat Zareen, Shiva Thapa & Pooja Rani Among Medallists

While the battle for Olympic qualification rages on the sidelines, Nikhat Zareen, who is chasing MC Mary Kom for a bout, has bagged herself a bronze at the Olympic test event in Tokyo. A lack of ring time showed rust in her game, proving how important regular competition is for success.
Indian boxer Shiva Thapa at Olympic Test Event for Boxing in Tokyo

Indian boxer Shiva Thapa out-punched Kazakhstan's Asian bronze-winner Sanatali Toltayev 5-0 to win gold in the Olympic Test Event for Boxing in Tokyo.

If reports quoting the Boxing Federation of India are indeed true, the MC Mary Kom vs Nikhat Zareen selection trail bout looks set to happen. The contest, which Zareen has been chasing, and Kom avoiding, is likely to be staged after the national championships scheduled in early December.

While the Indian boxing think-tank spar with each other to solve a situation proving to be embarrassing for the sport as well as the country's biggest superstar, the boxers themselves are moving on. Mary Kom, keen to avoid a clash with Zareen, a former junior world champion and a genuine contender in the 51kg division, is back in training. Zareen meanwhile is in competition right now.

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Which basically means that the youngster won't have the best of build-up towards the bout, if and when it happens. Starved off quality international exposure, she ended up with a bronze medal in the Olympic Test Event for Boxing in Tokyo this week, losing to Sana Kawano of Japan in the semifinals via a split decision after a tight contest. 

With the event coming at the fag end of the year — weeks after a World Championships to boot — the field was limited and the bout vs Kawano was the first outing for Zareen. Though the Indian made a good account of herself, the loss is indicative of how rusted the young boxer is, having been on the sidelines, fighting for a chance to fight!

Indians, on the whole, had a good tournament at the Test event.

Shiva Thapa (63kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg) clinched gold medals with impressive wins, while Ashish (69kg) settled for a silver as India ended with seven medals from the event. 

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Four-time Asian medallist Thapa out-punched Kazakhstan's national champion and Asian bronze-winner Sanatali Toltayev 5-0 to win the top prize. Former Asian Games bronze-medallist Rani edged past Australia's Caitlin Parker via a split 4-1 decision. 

Asian bronze-medallist Ashish (69kg), however, lost to Japan's Sewon Okazawa to sign off with a silver medal. The bronze medals were earned by Zareen (51kg), Simranjeet Kaur (60kg) Sumit Sangwan (91kg) and Vahlimpuia (75kg).   

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