- Mary Kom beat Nepal's Mala Rai 5-0 to proceed to the semi finals.
- 22 Indian boxers are now assured of a medal.
- Pawan Narwal defeated Youth Olympics champion Brian Arregui Agustin to enter Quarters.
Six-time world champion Mary Kom made a winning debut in the 51 kg category to beat her Nepalese opponent Mala Rai and reach the semifinals of the India Open boxing tournament. This also assures her of a medal at the competition. Indian pugilists continued to put up a dominant show at the competition with as many as 22 boxers assured of a medal.
Twenty Two Indian women boxers including M C Mary Kom assure medals by entering the Semi Finals in India open International Boxing tournament
— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) May 21, 2019
The Magnificent Mary entered the ring to a rousing welcome at the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium and the London Olympic bronze didn’t fail to entertain the revellers, winning the bout 5-0.
“It’s also a learning experience for me. The Nepal opponent was experienced and quite strong. It’s glad to be back in India. We all are trying our best to make the country proud,” Mary Kom said.
The celebrated Manipuri boxer had decided to give the Asian Championships a miss in order to prepare for the World Championships.
The victory now sees Mary pitted against fellow Indian and Asian Championships bronze medallist Nikhat Zareen in what will be a blockbuster semi-final. This also means that one of them will go on to receive at least a silver medal.
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Nikhat Sets a Date with Mary Kom
Nikhat Zareen, a Strandja Cup gold medallist, put up an impressive show against compatriot Anamika in the 5-0 victory.
Although she is up against her idol, Nikhat will be in the hunt to avenge the South Asian Games defeat at the hands of Mary Kom in the semifinals.
“I was nervous nervous last time but this time I’m well prepared and hope to give my best,” Nikhat said.
Like day 1, Indian boxers were dominant on the day 2 as well. Manju Rani, a Strandja Cup silver medallist, carried on attacking her opponent, Philippines’ Cleo Claveras Tesara right from the start to earn a victory by RSC (Referee Stop Contest) in Round 1. She will now play in the 48 kg semi-finals.
Kalavani too won by RSC in the Round 2 against Tandin Lhamo of Bhutan. Monika was equally dominating in her quarter-final bout against Apaporn Intongsee of Thailand which she won by 5-0.
Pawan Narwal Defeats Youth Olympics Champion
Earlier in the day, youngster Pawan Narwal created ripples by defeating Youth Olympics gold medallist Brian Arregui Agustin in the 69kg category. He was among the five boxers from the men’s section to advance to the quarterfinals.
Demonstrating his class and experience, Argentine boxer was dominant in the first round. However, the 21-year-old Indian showed resilience to make a come back with clever footwork to win the contest 4-1 in what was a split decision.
“It was a close fight. He was dangerous with his left hook and landed powerful punches. Pawan outworked him with his clever footwork which was the key,” India’s chief performance director Santiago Nieva told PTI.
“He (Narwal) really applied the pressure and the Argentine could not sustain in the end. He scored very well from the outside. It was a fair decision,” Nieva said of the bout, adding that the Haryana lad needs some more international exposure.
“We could not compete at the Junior Nationals for four years due to the suspension and made a direct entry to seniors last year,” Narwal said.
Talking about the camp in Patiala, he said: “I’ve got some good partners in the camp and Santiago Sir is working really hard for me. There has been a huge improvement in me.”
Narwal will now face Mauritius’ Clair Marven in the quarter finals.