Five Indians in final, four fetch bronze at Mongolian boxing tourney
New Delhi, Jun 23 (PTI) World silver-medallist Sonia Lather (57kg) and Mandeep Jangra were among the five Indian boxers to enter the finals, while four others, including Shiva Thapa (60kg), signed off with bronze medals in the Ulaanbaatar Cup in Mongolia today.
Those who made the final along with Sonia and Mandeep were Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), a gold-medallist at the India Open earlier this year, Himanshu Sharma (49kg), and Muhammed Etash Khan (56kg).
Ending with bronze medals were Shiva, debutant Vanhmlimpuia (75kg), Ashish (64kg), and Bina Devi Koijam (48kg), a direct entrant into the last-four stage owing to the small size of the women's draw.
While Shiva lost a closely-contested bout to home boxer Battumur Misheelt, Bina was out-punched by Korean Kim Kum Sun. Ashish too lost to a Mongolian in Uranchmeg Munkh-Erdene, while Vanhmlimpuia was beaten by Iran's Mousavi Seyedshahin.
Sonia, a two-time world, and Asian championships silver-medallist defeated Tiantian Zhao of China in a split decision. The Indian looked off-color in the opening round, which Zhao dominated with her well-connected right hooks.
However, Sonia staged a strong recovery in the second and third rounds, drawing from her huge reservoir of experience to fetch a favourable verdict in the end. She will face local favourite Tumurkhuyag Bolortuul in the summit clash.
Lovlina, in contrast, dominated from the very start, taking good advantage of her opponent Enkhbaatar Erdenetuya's sluggish foot movement.
The Indian punched at will, her jabs connecting powerfully. The Assam-boxer will now square off against Chinese Taipei's Nien Chen Chen in her summit clash.
In the men's draw, Mandeep, a former Commonwealth Games silver medallist, was up against local challenge Tsend-Ayush Otgon-Erdene. The Indian was way superior when it came to hitting impactful punches and was also helped by a warning to Otgon-Erdene for excessive bending.
Shiva, on the other hand, fought out a messy slugfest with Misheelt. The former world bronze-winner and three-time Asian-medallist Indian connected better but could not find get the nod from the judges, who were split in their verdict favouring the crowd favourite.
In the evening session, Himanshu claimed a scrappy 3-2 win over Thailand's Samaek Saehan in the semifinal to enter the final, where he will be up against Iran's Omid Ahmadisafa.
Etash, in contrast, ensured that the judges had no doubt in awarding the bout to him against Mongolian Tsgaanbaatar Munkhbaatar. The Manipuri youngster displayed sharp reflexes and struck powerfully to fetch a unanimous verdict into the final.
Kazakhstan's Baltiyev Abdukhaul awaits him in the summit clash tomorrow.
Ashish and Vanhmlimpuia gave their all in their respective bouts but fell short when it came to getting judges' nod.
Bina was beaten in a unanimous verdict by Korean Kim Kum Sun, undone by lack of power in her punches and the longer reach of her opponent.