Aiming for the sixth gold medal in just seven appearances, the veteran Mary Kom will face a stiff challenge from the two-time world champion Kazakh boxer Nazym Kyzaibay in the 51kg final.
Indian women’s team is looking ahead for more glory as four boxers, including six-time world champion MC Mary Kom, are ready for the finals of the Asian Boxing Championship scheduled for Sunday.
In all, seven Indians are in the finals. Four of them -- six-time world champion MC Marykom (51kg), Pooja Rani (75kg), Anupama (+81kg), and Lalbuatsahi (64kg) -- will be seen in action on Sunday.
“The women’s team has won six bronze medals in Dubai. But it is difficult to predict how many gold medals our team would win. Going by the performance in the semi-finals we are hopeful of good results on Sunday,” a national level coach said.
So far, the India women’s team has already won six bronze medals through Monika (48 kg), Sakshi Chaudhary (54 kg), Jasmine (57 kg), Simranjit Kaur (60 kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69 kg), and Saweety (81 kg).
India in the 2019 edition of the continental competition had won 13 medals, two of them being gold, four silver, and seven bronze.
On Sunday, Mary Kom, 38, would be aiming for her sixth continental title. In the 51kg final, she will face Kazakhstan’s Nazym Kyzaibay who is nearly 11 years younger to her.
She beat Mongolian Lutsaikhan Altantsetseg in the 51kg women’s flyweight to book her place in the Asian Boxing Championships final at the Le Meridien Grand Ballroom on Thursday.
“It was not my best performance today but I am in the final of the Asian Boxing Championships which is so important for me,” Mary Kom said.
“I was a bit slow in the first round but got my rhythm from the second round. I had met her once before and it didn’t take much to understand my opponent.”
Mary Kom remained coy about her future after the Asian Championships and the Tokyo Olympics.
“There are not many major competitions and the event is my last step before the Olympic Games,” she added.
“The event is now smaller because of Covid-19 but there are good boxers in the championships. I hope I can take a medal in the Tokyo Olympic Games and anything can happen after that.”
While Lalbuatsaihi will face Milana Safronova of Kazakhstan in the 64kg final, another Olympic-bound Pooja Rani, who received a walk-over in the semi-finals, will fight against an in-form Mavluda Movlonova of Uzbekistan, who ended the challenge of London Olympics medallist Marina Volnova in the last-4 stagePooja Rani will take on Uzbekistan’s Mavluda Movlonova in the 75kg final.
In the heavyweight group, India’s Anupama will face Lazzat Kungeibayeva of Kazakhstan in the plus 81 kg final.
In the men’s section, Varinder Singh in 60kg and Vikas Krishan in the 69kg settled for bronze medals.
The men’s final competition in all weight categories is scheduled for Monday.
Amit Panghal will face reigning Olympic and world champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan in the 52kg while Shiva Thapa will face 2018 Asian Games silver medallist Baatarsukh Chinzorig of Mongolia in the 64kg.
Sanjeet will face 2016 Olympic silver medallist Vassiliy Levit in the 91kg.
Meanwhile, Kazakhstan’s Ablaikhan Zhussupov defeated Mongolia’s Battumur Misheelt in the semi-finals of the welterweight (69kg).
The two-time AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Zhussupov was technically better than the promising Mongolian and he used also his longer reach well.
The Kazakh boxer won the contest by unanimous decision and will be meeting for the gold medal with Uzbekistan’s Bobo-Usmon Baturov.
At the on-going prestigious championships, which is jointly hosted by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) and UAE Boxing Federation, Indian contingent have already ensured their best-ever show by securing unprecedented 15 medals and bettered previous highest of 13 medals (2 gold, 4 silver and 7 bronze) achieved during the 2019 edition.
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has allocated $4,00,000 prize money for this Championships. The gold medallists of men’s and women’s categories will be awarded with $10,000 while both the silver and bronze medal winners will take home $5,000 and $2,500 respectively.