Vijayanagara, Jan. 6:
There are a few surprises that have been thrown into the JSW Sports presents third Elite Women’s National Boxing Championships, taking place at the Inspire Institute of Sport here, as S. Kalaivani of Tamil Nadu and Nikhat Zareen of Telangana entered the finals in their respective weight categories, making the event worth a while.
And for their victims—Haryana’s Sanju in 48 kg and Vanlai Duati of All India Police—touted to reach the finals before the championships began, will have to now settle for the bronze medals as Tamil Nadu and Telengana girls will fight for the top-podium finish.
Meanwhile, when the six-time world champion M.C. Mary Kom arrived at the hall—she is the chief guest at the medal ceremony function —the din raised in the hall indicated the iconic status the 6th time world champion boxer has achieved. In fact, it egged on the boxers to go all out against their opponents as well.
Railways Sonia Lather, too, entered the final beating Sandhyarani Devi of AIP 4:1, another blow for the policewomen, while Shashi Chopra of Haryana downed Manipur’s KH Shamim Banu 5:0 to clash in the 57kg class final.
This clash should be really interesting because one is a world champion medallist and the other a world youth championships medal winner.
Earlier, Haryana’s Pinki Rani Jangra had little difficult in putting it across her Railways rival, Meenakshi, winning the semifinal bout 5:0 and looks the favourite for the title against Nikhat Zareen.
With 20 bouts scheduled for the day, the best bout in light fly class with Kalavani taking on Haryana’s Sanju took place early. The Haryana girl, with an open guard, invited the opponent to charge at her. And Kalavani did precisely that and landed quite few combination blows, hitting the target areas. This aroused enthusiasm all around as some of her fans rooted for her and she relentlessly continued to exploit the openings to pound the Haryana girl who by then had assessed the situation well and traded some effective lefts and uppercuts to take the sting out of her rival’s punches.
But in the third round both boxers, visibly tired, exchanged a few blows and missed a few as the time ran out and the red corner girl was declared winner with a split decision 3:2, a big relief for the Tamil Nadu girl while a big disappointment for the Haryana pugilist.
For Nikhat, it became too easy as the Telangana boxer was superior to her AIP opponent as she had sent down combination punches in a measured way to make full impression. Though she slowed down a bit in the second and third, she had the measure of Vanlai Dauti which helped the former move into the final.