Guwahati, May 24: Six-time world champion Mary Kom staved off a stiff challenge from Asian Championships bronze medallist Nikhat Zareen in 51kg, while former world youth champion Sachin Siwach (52kg) upset Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gaurav Solanki to storm into the final of the second edition of the India Open in Assam on Thursday (May 23).
Asian Games gold medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) and four-time Asian Championships medallist Shiva Thapa (60kg) were the other gold medal hopes who faced no hassle on their way to the final.
Mary Kom, winner of 2018 India Open gold in 48kg, took time to settle into the much-awaited bout as Zareen was the early aggressor. It was in the final round that the London Olympic bronze medallist found her strides and punched her way with the split verdict of 4-1 win to set up a final showdown with Vanlal Duati, a 3-2 winner over Jyoti.
Mary rules! 💥✨@MangteC cruises to the Grand Finale and inches closer to her 2️⃣ #IndiaOpenBoxing 🥇; puts up a flamboyant display to resist an aggressive @nikhat_zareen and take home the SF bout in split 4:1 verdict.— Boxing Federation (@BFI_official) May 23, 2019
Let's #GoForGold now.💪🥊 #PunchMeinHainDum #boxing pic.twitter.com/zcrM0T2cE2
"Nikhat is normally a boxer who doesn't like to come inside much and I am more of a counter boxer so I used that to my advantage," said the Manipuri legend after her bout.
Sachin exuded confidence through his fiery flurry of punches against the accomplished Solanki to set up a final showdown with Panghal, who has won gold medals at the Asian Championships as well as the Strandja Cup this year. Siwach, who earned a bronze from the GeeBee Boxing tournament in 2019, hopes to change the colour of his medal to gold in his first meeting with Panghal in any competitive event.
"I have been beating Gaurav Solanki for quite some time and I was full of confidence that I would be able to beat him today as well," said Sachin after his win. "Amit has improved a lot of late but this is my big chance to show my prowess at a major competition at the senior level. This will be my first meeting with Amit in any competitive event and I hope to give my best to get the win," added the rising star.
A year after losing in the semi-finals, 25-year-old Shiva Thapa rode on vociferous cheers of support to set up a revenge match with defending 60kg champion Manish Kaushik. Thapa, who came here after a bronze from the Asian Championships, did not take much time to assert his supremacy over Poland's D Krystian Sczepanski in his 5-0 demolition. Kaushik, meanwhile, thumped Ankit 5-0 in his semi-final.
"My opponent was getting tired so I tried to put some false punches to make him more tired. I am glad the strategy worked," said Thapa after his victory.
Former World Championships bronze medallist Gaurav Bidhuri was a big Indian hope to lose out on a place in the final. Bidhuri was beaten 0-5 by Thailand's former Asian champion Chatchai Decha Butdee and had to settle for the bronze.
Asian Championships silver medallist Deepak (49kg) did not even have to enter the ring to confirm his final berth as he got a walkover from Philippines's Carolo Cano Paalam. Kavinder Singh Bisht, also a silver medallist from the continental event, remained in the hunt for the 56kg gold following a tight 4-1 win over compatriot Madan Lal.
Fresh from winning his maiden medal from the Asian Championships, Ashish Kumar (75kg) will now target the gold at the India Open 2019 after edging Thailand's Aphisit Khankhokkruea 4-1. He will meet Eumir Felix Delos Santos of Philippines who knocked out Manjeet Panghal.
In the women's section, 2012 world champion Josie Gabuco of Philippines used her experience to dismiss the challenge of India's Kalavani 5-0 in 48kg while Monika prevailed over Manju Rani 4-1.
Deepak (49kg) (IND) def Carolo Cano Paalam (PHL): walkover
Govind Kumar Sahani (49kg) (IND) def Tashi Wangdi (BTN): 5-0
Amit Panghal (52kg) (IND) def PL Prasad (IND): 5-0
Sachin (52kg) (IND) def Gaurav Solanki (IND): 5-0
Kavinder Singh Bisht (56kg) (IND) def Madan Lal (IND): 4-1
Chatchai Decha Butdee (56kg) (THA) def Gaurav Bidhuri (IND): 5-0
Shiva Thapa (60kg) (IND) def D Krystian Sczepanski (POL): 5-0
Manish Kaushik (60kg) (IND) def Ankit (IND): 5-0
Rohit Tokas (64kg) (IND) def Ankush Dahiya (IND): 5-0
Ashish (69kg) (IND) def Clair Marven (MUS): 5-0
Duryodhan Singh Negi (69kg) (IND) def Dinesh Dagar (IND): 5-0
Ashish Kumar (75kg) (IND) def Aphisit Khankhokkruea (THA): 4-1
Eumir Felix Delos Santos (75kg) (PHL) def Manjeet Panghal (IND): K/O (Round 1)
Brijesh Yadav (81kg) (IND) def Harsh Lakhra (IND): 5-0
Manish Pawar (81kg) (IND) def Sanjay (IND): 5-0
Naman Tanwar (91kg) (IND) def Praveen Kumar (IND): 5-0
Sumit Sangwan (91kg) (IND) def Sanjeet (IND): 5-0
Satish Kumar (+91kg) (IND) def Hitesh (IND): 4-1
Naveen Kumar (+91kg) (IND) def Atul Thakur (IND): 5-0
Josie Gabuco (48kg) (PHL) def Kalavani (IND): 5-0
Monika (48kg) (IND) def Manju Rani (IND): 4-1
Mary Kom (51kg) (IND) def Nikhat Zareen (IND): 4-1
Vanlal Duati (51kg) (IND) def Jyoti (IND): 3-2
Source: Press Release