Pooja Rani defeats world champion to reach Boxam International final

Pooja Rani
Image Courtesy: BFI

Asian Championships gold medallist and Olympic bound boxer Pooja Rani has defeated world champion Atheyna Bylon in the semi-finals of the 35th Boxam International boxing tournament in Castellon, Spain to make entry to the final as the ninth Indian pugilist.

Competing in the 75 kg category, Pooja Rani stomped her opponent Bylon, the Panamanian boxer who is a 2014 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships gold medallist, and won the semifinal bout via unanimous decision. Joining eight of her compatriots in the final, Pooja will lock horns against American pugilist Melissa Graham on Sunday.

Pooja Rani among nine Indian boxers to make it to the Boxam International final

Pooja, who clinched gold at the 2019 Asian Amateur Boxing Championships in Bangkok and also a bronze at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, defeated Italian boxer Assunta Canfora in the quarter-finals before, the same round which also saw the shocking exit of India’s boxing ace Lovlina Borgohain after losing 0-5 to Russia’s Saadat Dalgatova.

A total of three female and six male Indian boxers have secured berths in the Boxam International final. Alongside Pooja, Simranjit Kaur, and Jasmine, fighting in the 60 kg and 57 kg categories respectively, will be appearing in the final as well. MC Mary Kom, however, settled for a bronze after ending her run in the semis against Virginia Fuchs yesterday.

Simranjit edged out Kiria Tapia of Puerto Rico in the semi-finals with a narrow 3-2 victory. Her clash in the final will be against American boxer Rashida Ellis, who is a 2019 World Championship bronze medallist.

In her first senior international tournament, Jasmine has been utterly remarkable as a debutant. The youngster thrashed Sirine Charaabi of Italy 4-1 in the semis to book her entry for the final, where she will square off against 2019 European Championship gold medal winner Irma Testa.

On the other hand, all six of the male boxers from India were successful to storm into the finals, namely Mohammed Hussamuddin (57kg), Manish Kaushik (63kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Ashish Kumar (75kg), Sumit Sangwan (81kg) and Satish Kumar (91+kg).

Hussamuddin defeated Orlando Martinez 4-1 in the semis, while Kaushik had a nail-biting contest against Lounes Hamraoui, which ended up in a 3-2 close contest for the Indian. They will be facing Paul Rivera and Nikolai Terteryan in the final respectively.

Krishan won his semi-final bout in a thrilling 3-2 split decision against two-time World bronze medallist Ablaikhan Zhussupov. His final-round clash is against the Spaniard Youba Sissokho.

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