New Delhi, Feb. 19:
Asian Games gold medallist Amit Panghal continued his quest for a second consecutive gold medal as he reached the final of the prestigious 70th Strandja Memorial Boxing Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria on Monday.
The 23-year-old, also a silver medallist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, showed his grit and determination in a hard-fought 3-2 win over Said Mortaji in the 49kg semi-finals.
Former world junior champion Nikhat Zareen (51kg) led 3 women boxers into the finals as India is now assured of a total of seven medals from this season-opening tournament.
Zareen put up a dominating performance as she outclassed Drabik Sandra of Poland 4-1 to keep up her quest for the gold. 48kg national champion Manju Rani too continued her dream run on her debut on foreign soil. The youngster, who turned to boxing to manage her anger, pummelled Emi-Mari Todorova 4-1 to enter the final.
But the best performer among the Indian women pugilists on Day 5 of this event was Maisnam Meena Kumari. The Nagaland boxer, a former bronze medallist at the Asian Championships, did not give her opponent, Ekaterina Sycheva to settle down and was declared a 5-0 unanimous winner.
However, the journey ended for Neeraj (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Pwilao Basumatary (64kg), all of whom had to settle for the bronze medal following their losses in the semi-finals.
Haryana girl Neeraj, whose resume is embellished with a gold medal from the Nation’s Cup, put her heart and soul into the fight but ultimately had to settle for the second best in her 2-3 loss to Sweden’s Agnes Alexiusson.
Lovlina Borgohain, a gold medallist at the 2018 Indian Open, went down 1-4 to Nien-Chin Chen of Taipei while Pwilao Basumatary was no match for Italy’s Valentina Alberti who notched up a commanding 5-0 victory.
Earlier, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gaurav Solanki (52kg) and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Naman Tanwar (91kg) lost their respective bouts to bow out in the quarter-finals.