Indian boxers started their 2019 Indian Open Boxing Tournament campaign on a high note after 14 female boxers, including five-time World Champion and Olympic bronze medallist MC Mary Kom, stormed into the semi-finals of the tournament. Mary got the better of Nepal’s Mala Rai and will now face fellow India Nikhat Zareen for a spot in the finals of the 51kg category.
“It’s also a learning experience for me. The Nepal opponent was experienced and quite strong. I’m glad to be back in India. We all are trying our best to make the country proud,” said Mary Kom after her resounding win.
In the 48kg category, Manju Rani won by RSC in the first round after she landed a flurry of punches over her opponent from Philippines Cleo Claveras Tesara. Monika and Kalavani, too, reached the semi-finals of the tournament after getting the better of their opponents but Nitu lost her bout.
The men weren’t behind either in the contest. Pawan Narwal ousted Youth Olympics gold medallist Brian Arregui Agustin in the 69kg category in a 4-1 split decision after being outmuscled in the opening round. Dinesh Dagar, too, made it to the quarter-finals of the 69kg category after moving past his Filipino challenge Marjon Angcon Pianar 3-2 in a split decision.
Ankit Khatana (60kg), Ashish (64kg), and Manjit Paghal (75kg) were the other male pugilists who reached the quarter-finals of the 2019 Indian Open Boxing Tournament.