Tokyo Olympics 2020, Asian Boxing Qualifiers: Amit Panghal and Mary Kom through to the quarter-finals, Gaurav Solanki bows out
- Amit Panghal and Mary Kom move into the quarter-finals of the Asian Boxing Qualifiers and are one win away from qualifying for the Olympics.
What's the story?
Indian boxing stars Amit Panghal and Mary Kom won their respective bouts to reach the quarterfinals in the men's 52 kg and women's 51 kg weight categories respectively at the Asia-Oceania Olympic Boxing Qualifiers but Gaurav Solanki bowed out after losing his pre-quarterfinal bout in the men's 57 kg weight category. Amit and Mary are now just one win away from qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020.
In case you didn't know
The Asia & Oceania zone Olympic Qualification Tournament for Boxing is being held at the Prince Hamzah Hall in Amman, Jordan from 3rd to 11th March. The Indian boxers are competing in all the 13 weight categories (8 for men and 5 for women) at the qualifiers.
The Indian contingent is being led by six-time World Champion and London Olympics bronze medalist MC Mary Kom and World Championship silver medalist Amit Panghal in the women's and men's categories respectively. Mary is fighting in the women's 51kg weight category while Amit is showing his wares in the men's 52kg weight category.
Also Checkout: The Tokyo Olympics 2020 Schedule
It was the first bout for both Amit and Mary at these qualifiers while Gaurav had reached the pre-quarterfinals after blowing away his opponent Akylbek Esenbek Uulu of Kyrgyzstan in a Round of 32 encounter.
There are six Olympic slots up for grabs in all the three weight categories at these qualifiers.
Heart of the matter
It was a mixed day for India at the Asia-Oceania Olympic Boxing Qualifiers with Amit Panghal (men's 52 kg) and Mary Kom (women's 51 kg) making it through to the quarterfinals but Gaurav Solanki crashed out of the qualifiers after losing his bout in the men's 57 kg weight category.
Amit, the first Indian to feature in the 5th day of competition at the qualifiers, started the day well for India by defeating Enkhmanadakh Kharkhuu of Mongolia in the men's 52 kg weight category with a split 3-2 verdict in his favour.
Amit, the top seed in the tournament, started off aggressively with his left hooks proving to be very effective. He managed to secure a split 4-1 verdict in his favour in the 1st round with 4 judges scoring the round 10-9 for the Indian with the other judge ruling the round 10-9 for the Mongolian.
The 2nd round was a more closely-fought affair with both boxers going hard at each other. The tightness of the contest was reflected in the judges' scorecards as well with Amit securing a split 3-2 verdict, 3 judges scoring the round 10-9 for him and the other 2 judges scoring it 10-9 for his opponent.
Trailing after the 2nd round, Kharkhuu came up with an aggressive approach while Amit seemed to be visibly tired. The Indian defended well to ensure that the Mongolian did not run away with the bout. Amit was lucky to scrape through with a split 3-2 verdict in his favour, with the judges' scores of 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 28-29, 28-29 reflecting the closeness of the bout.
Gaurav became the 2nd Indian to bow out of the qualifiers, after Naman Tanwar's exit yesterday, as he was defeated by the top-seeded Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov of Uzbekistan in the men's 57 kg weight category with a split 4-1 verdict going against him.
The Uzbek, the reigning World Champion and gold-medalist at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games, was the dominant boxer in the 1st round and got a unanimous 5-0 verdict with all the judges scoring the round 10-9 in his favour.
Gaurav came out firing in the 2nd round and put his Uzbek opponent under pressure. His efforts helped him to get a split 4-1 verdict in his favour, 4 judges scoring the round 10-9 for the Indian and the other judge scoring it 10-9 for his opponent.
With the bout very much alive, the last round turned out to be a slugfest with the experienced Uzbek the slightly more dominant boxer. Despite his courageous efforts, Gaurav could not match up to his more illustrious opponent and went down with a split 4-1 verdict going against him, the final judges' scorecards reading 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 28-29 in favour of the Uzbek.
Mary Kom finished the day on a good note for India by outclassing Tasmyn Benny of New Zealand in the women's 51 kg weight category with a unanimous 5-0 verdict in her favour.
Mary was totally dominant right from the outset against her inexperienced Kiwi opponent. Although Tasmyn was much taller than the Indian great, she could not take much advantage of her reach. Mary completely out-boxed her opponent to get a unanimous verdict in all the rounds with the final scorecard of 30-27, 30-27, 30-37, 30-26, 30-26 showing her utter dominance.
Amit will be facing Carlo Paalam of Philippines in his quarterfinal bout. Amit, who has previously defeated Carlo both in the 2019 World Championships and the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games, should go into the contest high on confidence.
Mary would be up against Irish Magno of Philippines in her quarterfinal bout. A win for Amit and Mary will earn them an entry into the semi-finals and guarantee a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Gaurav on the other hand, will have to wait for the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament to be held in Paris from 13th to 20th May to have another shot at qualification.Published 07 Mar 2020, 22:02 IST