Indian pugilists Govind Kumar Sahani, Anamika and Anupama secured monumental victories to storm into the finals of the ongoing 74th Strandja Memorial International Boxing Tournament, here on Saturday.
Govind was up against Luka Kublashvili of Georgia in the semi-finals of the men’s 48kg category. The 2022 Asian championships bronze medallist put up a scintillating attacking display throughout the bout and emerged victorious against his opponent.
Following his 4-1 win, Govind will be facing the 2023 Asian U-22 Championships silver medallist Shodiyorjon Melikuziev of Uzbekistan in the final on Sunday.
Going up against Wassila Lkhadiri of France in the women’s 50kg category, Anamika had a cautious start to the bout but showcased immense grit to make a fightback in the second round. The Indian utilised her quick movement to dodge the two time EUBC Championships bronze medallists’ punches whilst attacking smartly to gain control of the contest.
With a dominating performance in the third round, Anamika defeated her French opponent by 4-1 to advance to the finals. She will face Hu Meiyi of China in the final.
Similar to her national teammate, Anupama had to be at her razor sharp best in her clash against the 2022 World Championships bronze medallist Jessica Bagley of Australia. In what was a closely contested bout between two pugilists of supreme technical ability, it was the Indian who got the better of her opponent with her attacking intent and confident approach.
Displaying stellar strength and landing accurate punches, Anupama managed to keep the Australian at bay and grinded out an impressive 3:2 victory by split decision. She will now take on Emma-Sue Greentree of Australia in the final of the 81kg category.
In the other semi-final bouts, women pugilists S Kalaivani, Shruti Yadav and Monika suffered identical 0-5 defeats, bowing out of the competition despite their best efforts.
While Kalaivani lost against the 2022 Asian Youth silver medallist Saidakhon Rakhmonova of Uzbekistan in the 48kg category, Shruti went down fighting against the 2022 European silver medallist Christina Desmond of Ireland in the 70kg category.
Monika, on the other hand, was beaten by Aynur Rzayeva of Azerbaijan in the +81kg category.
In the men’s 51 kg category, the 2021 Asian youth champion Bishwamitra Chongtham encountered a hard-fought 2:3 defeat by split decision against the 2020 Olympian Quiroga Ramon Nicanor of Argentina.
The 2021 World Youth champion Sachin also exited the competition as his bout against the two-time European Youth champion Yasen Radev of Bulgaria in the 54kg category was abandoned in the third round after the Indian boxer got a cut below his eye.
Late on Friday night, Mohammad Hussamuddin (57kg) and Mahi Lama (63kg) were both defeated with a 0-5 scoreline by Artur Bazeyan of Armenia and Keona Sam-Sin of Netherlands respectively.