Vikas Krishan
Vikas Krishan

Boxing: Vikas, Simranjit in final; Mary Kom, Amit, two others settle for bronze

New Delhi, March 10, 2020

World Championships bronze medalist Simranjit Kaur (60kg) and former Asian Games winner Vikas Krishan (69kg) battled it out to move into the finals of the Asian/Oceanian Olympic Qualifiers in Amman, Jordan today as Sachin Kumar (81kg) won the first of his two box-off bouts to keep India in the hunt for the highest-ever Olympic quota haul.

However, six-time world champion Mary Kom (51kg) and World Championships silver medalist Amit Panghal (52kg) had to settle for the bronze as did Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg).

Displaying tactical brilliance, Simranjit was able to overcome the challenge posed by Chinese Taipei’s Asian Championships silver medalist Shih-Yi Wu and secured a 4-1 win to set up a final showdown with former two-time Asian champion Oh Yeon Ji of South Korea.

Krishan held his nerves, despite suffering a cut below his left eyebrow. He refused to bow out and gave his all to knock out the second seed and World Championships bronze medalist Ablaikhan Zhussupov of Kazakhstan in a 3-2 verdict. The Indian will face Eishaih Hussein of Jordan in the final tomorrow.

Sachin Kumar (81 kg) defeated Manh Cuong Nguyen of Vietnam 4-1 in the first box-off bout and will next face Tajikistan's Shabbos Negmatulloev in the final box-off bout tomorrow for an Olympic quota place.

A day after booking her second appearance at the Olympics, Mary Kom put up a gritty fight against the reigning Asian Games champion Yuan Chang but it was not to be as the Chinese prevailed 3-2 in a closely-contested bout.

In the other bouts of the day, Panghal went down to Rio Olympic bronze medallist Jianguan Hu of China 2-3, having beaten him at the 2019 Asian Championships. Two-time World Championships bronze medalist Lovlina was blanked 0-5 by China’s Hong Gu in her semi-final. Asian champion Pooja Rani (75kg) suffered the same fate at the hands of Olympic bronze medallist Qian Li of China.

Indian boxers have so far dominated the Asian Qualifiers by bagging eight quota places brought home by Mary Kom (51kg), Pooja Rani (75kg), Ashish Kumar (75kg), Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Satish Kumar (+91kg) besides Panghal, Krishan and Borgohain.

India currently shares the top position with Kazakhstan out of 10 nations with chances of topping their 2012 haul of 8 quota berths as Sachin Kumar and Manish Kaushik (63kg) are still in contention due to their box-off opportunities.

Indian boxers, who failed in their quest at the Asian Qualifiers, will get one more opportunity to realize their Olympic dream at the World Qualifiers set to be held in Paris in May.


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