India’s M.C. Mary Kom (red) in action against Philippine’s Josie Gabuco in their Light Fly category boxing bout during the final of India Open Boxing Tournament in New Delhi, Feb. 1. (Gurinder Osan/PTI)
M.C. Mary Kom claimed a gold in the women’s competition but Indian men were denied a complete sweep by traditional powerhouses Cuba and Uzbekistan on an exciting final day of the India Open boxing tournament, in New Delhi, Feb. 1.
Mary Kom (48 kg) got the better of Filipino Josie Gabuco 4-1 in a battle of attrition to come up trumps.
In fact, women stole the thunder from men by picking up five gold medals after men were thwarted by Cuba and Uzbekistan.
Pwilao Basumatary (64 kg) was the first among them to fetch a gold. The former world and Asian bronze medalist claimed a 3-2 win over Thailand’s Sudaporn Seesondee.
The Assam boxer is a regular in the national camp and had claimed a gold medal at the 2015 Nation’s Cup in Serbia.
She hails from a small village in Kokrajhar where several families were displaced during the 2012 riots. Her family was among those displaced by the violence but has since moved on.
Another Assam boxer, Lovlina Borgohain claimed the welterweight (69 kg) gold among women, getting the better of compatriot Pooja.
In the evening, Commonwealth Games bronze-medalist Pinki Jangra (51 kg) registered a unanimous victory over Mongolia’s Jargalan Ochirbat. Manisha (54 kg) added to the gold rush for women by claiming the top honors in the all-Indian final against M. Meenakumari.
But former world champion L. Sarita Devi (60 kg) settled for a silver medal after losing to Finland’s Olympic bronze- medalist Mira Potkenon.
Sarita gave her all in the bout but lost on a 2-3 decision after Potkenon salvaged a rather rusty performance with a final round flourish.
In the men’s draw, Sanjeet (91 kg) picked up India’s first gold of the day when he upstaged Uzbekistan’s Sanjar Tursunov.
The Indian matched Tursunov punch for punch in an engrossing contest before getting a split 3-2 verdict in his favor.
National champion Manish Kaushik (60 kg), who stunned world and Asian medalist Shiva Thapa, Jan. 31, didn’t have to step inside the ring to collect his gold.
Manish was given a walkover by his Mongolian rival Battumur Misheelt, who pulled out owing to a cut sustained on his forehead during his semifinal bout.
Asian Games bronze medalist Satish Kumar (+91 kg), however, settled for a silver, outwitted by Uzbekistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov in a split 4-1 decision.
Dinesh Dagar took the welterweight (69 kg) silver after going down to Uzbekistan’s Bobo-Usmon Baturov. In perhaps the most entertaining bout of the day, the Uzbek turned on the style against the gritty Indian.
With a smile on his face throughout and a mostly non-existent guard, Baturov was every bit a showman as he craftily got the better of Dinesh in a unanimous verdict.
To his credit, Dinesh connected a few lusty jabs of his own but Baturov was never really troubled.
Later, Devanshu Jaiswal (81 kg) was up against Cuba’s David Gutierrez.
Although the crowd favorite gave a good account of himself in defensive tactics, the Cuban connected enough with his jabs to score a split 4-1 victory.
Former world silver medalist Saweety Boora (75 kg) also had to be content with a second-place finish against Cameroon’s Essaine Clotilde.
Each gold winner in the $100,000 event went home richer by $2,500. The silver and bronze medal winners were presented $1,500 and $500 respectively.