Five Indians storm into semis of World Youth Championship; 7 medals assured for India


Indian boxers put up a spectacular show here on Wednesday, with five of them sailing into the semifinals of the AIBA Women’s World Youth Boxing Championships and writing their names on at least a bronze medal each.

The country is assured of a minimum of 7 medals now, including the two that Neha Yadav (81+) and Anupama (81kg) had booked earlier, making it in an unprecedented performance in the championships.

Local star Ankushita Boro led the charge, followed by Shashi Chopra, Sakshi, Nitu and Jyoti to the delight of a packed stadium.

“It is a great day for Indian boxing. Seven boxers in the semis is an unprecedented achievement for us. The way they have performed here shows the quality of these young pugilists and the efforts that the coaching staff has put behind them. I want to congratulate the entire contingent and wish them all the best for the remaining rounds,” BFI President Ajay Singh said.

The other Indians on show, Niharika Gonella and Astha Pahwa, however missed out on medal opportunities, bowing down to England’s Georgia O’Connor and Turkey’s Canser Oltu.

America’s Heaven Garcia was the shock defeat of the day, losing to Kazakhstan’s Zhansaya Abdraimova in the flyweight category.

Ankushita, cheered on by her entire family including an unwell sister and most of her village, shed tears of joy as she was declared the winner. Her victory over Rebecca Nicolli was especially sweet as she had lost to her 0-5 in Sofia, Bulgaria just a couple of months ago.

She seemed disappointed with a split-decision victory but was delighted that she not only advanced but also got her revenge. “I never expected the bout to be tough. I was confident that I would win,” Ankushita said proudly, even as the packed stadium roared in appreciation.

India’s high-performance director Rafaele Bergamasco rejoiced at the end of Shashi and Joshi’s bouts too, pumping his fist in the air, emotion writ all over his face. Both were declared unanimous winners, making their victories even more special.

Flyweight Jyoti, who has a peculiar style, began India’s march into the semifinals. As is her wont, she repeatedly lunged to hook with her leading left which would have been a routine left jab if she were an orthodox boxer. But she isn’t, which Marchese Giovanna of Italy probably realised a little too late.

Jyoti’s ploy worked nicely, often finding the target and she followed it up with a double or triple punch combo before stepping back and out of danger’s way.

“The coach told me to keep moving around the ring and use the jab and 1-2 combo more often. And when she began holding me in the second and third, he told me do infighting, release a burst of punches to her stomach and pull out, which is exactly what I did and it worked,” Jyoti said after her victory.

Shashi’s opponent from Kazakhstan is an established boxer, technically sound and physically strong. It was just a bit of smarter boxing that won Shashi the day, though, thanks to her straight punching that often gave her the desired results.

“I had beaten her in Istanbul, so I knew her style and strategy well. I ensured I kept my guard up in the second and third rounds to avoid giving away points and implemented the coach’s strategy of attack and defence in the second round before stepping on the gas in the final round. I knew I scored enough points to win the bout hands down,” Shashi said.

Sakshi showed her intent right from the word go, in her 54-kg bout against Xia Lu of China. She attacked her with a series of combinations that reeled the hapless Lu. The referee did a standing count on three occasions before he decided to call off the contest in the second round.

Nitu was equally dominant against Maxi Klotzer of Germany in the 45-48kg category. She dominated all three rounds to be declared unanimous victor.

In one of the most exhaustive and exciting bouts of the afternoon, China’s Cailing Hu and Russia’s Valeria Rodionova engaged in a slugfest in the 57-kg category that had all the trappings of a thriller.

They had style, power, slick footwork and speed, apart from intellect and a never-say-die attitude that would have been the envy of many a male boxer. Though Valeria was the stronger of the two, Hu was more clinical and had a higher percentage of shots on target, bobbing and weaving with alacrity to win the favour of the judges for a unanimous victory.

Results at the time of writing this report:

Light Fly Weight (45-48 KG) – Nitu (Ind) bt Klotzer Maxi (Ger) 5:0;

Fly Weight (51 KG) – Abdraimova Zhansaya (Kaz) bt Garcia Heaven Destiny (USA) 3:2; Jyoti (Ind) bt Marchese Giovanna (Ita) 5:0; Kinoshita Rinka (Jpn) bt Saracoglu Beyza (Tur) 3:2; Molchanova Ekaterina (Rus) bt Chen Tzu-Hsuan (Tpe) 5:0;

Bantam Weight (54 KG) – Sakshi (Ind) bt Lu Xia (Chn) RSC

Feather Weight (57 KG) – Hu Cailling (Chn) bt Rodionova Valeriia (Rus) 5:0; DO Hong Ngoc (Vie) bt Martinez Roma Linda (USA) 5:0; Monkhor Namuun (Mgl) bt Glover Victoria (Sco) 3:2; Shashi Chopra (Ind) bt Abilkhan Sandugash (Kaz) 5:0;

Light Welter (64 KG) – Saksri Thanchanok (Tha) bt Borys Patrycja (Pol) 3:2; Ankushita Boro (Ind) bt Nicoli Rebecca (Ita) 3:2; Dynnik Ekaterina (Rus) bt Fiedler Sabine (Ger) 4:1; Phelan Katelynn (Irl) bt CardenasAidyl (USA) 4:1;

Middle Weight (75 KG) – O’Connor Georgia (Eng) bt Niharika Gonella (Ind) 5:0; Yang Ya-Chu (Tpe) bt Movlonova Mavluda (Uzb) 4:1; Shamonova Anastasiia (Rus) bt Yestayeva Saltanat (Kaz) RSC; Marczykowska Natalia (Pol) bt Karakoyun Selma (Tur) 5:0;
Heavy Weight (+81 KG) – Islambekova Dina (Kaz) bt Juhasz Adrienn (Hun) 5:0; Tkacheva Kristina (Rus) bt Lovchynska Mariia (Ukr) 5:0;