Putting up a brave fight, former world junior champion Nikhat Zareen (51kg) led five Indian boxers into the finals of the Thailand Open International Boxing Tournament in Bangkok on Friday.
Along with Nikhat, the others aiming for the gold on Saturday will be Asian Championships silver medalist Deepak (49kg), GeeBee Boxing silver medalist Mohammed Hussamuddin (56kg), Asian Championships silver medallist Ashish Kumar (75kg), and India Open silver medallist Brijesh Yadav (81kg).
Three other pugilists Manju Rani (48kg), Ashish (69kg) and Bhagyabati Kachari (75kg), however, had to settle for the bronze.
Having begun the year with a gold medal at the Strandja Cup, the Asian Championships bronze medalist Nikhat looked in no mood to stop as she booked her place in the final with a 4-1 win over Thailand’s Jutamas Jitpong. In the final, she will face China’s Asian Games gold medalist Chang Yuan in what would be a tough bout.
Deepak blazed past Bhutan’s Tashi Wangdi 5-0 to set up a showdown with Uzbekistan’s Mirzakhmedov Nodirjon.
In the bantamweight category, Hussamuddin passed a stern test to register a narrow 3-2 win over Thailand’s Ammarit Yaodam for a meeting with the reigning India Open champion Chatchai Decha Butdee.
Ashish Kumar will hunt for the gold after a 4-0 victory over Uzbek Fanat Kakhramonov. Korea’s Kim Jinjae will be his opponent in the final showdown.
In 81kg, Brijesh landed a flurry of punches to knock out Saranon Klompan of Thailand before being declared the winner by RSC in Round 2. Up next for him is Thailand’s Anawat Thongkratok.
Strandja Cup silver medalist Manju Rani failed to breach the barrier of Thailand’s former World Championships bronze medalist Chuthamat Raksat who inflicted a 4-1 defeat on the Indian.
While Ashish succumbed to a 1-4 defeat to Thailand’s former Asian Games champion Wuttichai Masuk, Bhagyabati Kachari was outplayed 5-0 by China’s Rio Olympic bronze medalist Li Qian.
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