World champion Lovlina Borgohain (75kg) locked an Olympic quota for herself by moving into the final while Preeti Pawar (54kg) and Narender Berwal ( 92kg) signed off with bronze medals at the Asian Games on Tuesday. Borgohain, the Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist, cleverly managed her bout against Asian Championship silver medallist Baison Manikon of Thailand to win by an unanimous 5-0 decision and remain in the hunt for a gold medal in the continental showpiece. Preeti, whose father is an assistant sub-inspector in Haryana Police, put up a good show but lost 0-5 to reigning flyweight champion China’s Chang Yuan. She has already secured an Olympic quota.
Narender went down 0-5 to Olympic and world championship medallist Kamshybek Kunkabayev of Kazakhstan in the semifinal to miss out on an Olympic quota.
In a bizarre incident, Sachin Siwach lost his 57kg quarterfinal 1-4 bout to Lyu Ping in three minutes and 7 seconds after the Chinese sustained a cut on his forehead following a clash of the head between the two boxers.
Ping had won the first round 4-1 and when it was clear he couldn’t continue boxing due to the bleeding, the judges decided to rule the bout in favour of the Chinese.
In the first bout of the day, both southpaw boxers showcased their high skill and ring IQs in the opening three minutes. While Preeti looked to poke and peck with a right hook, the Chinese kept landing right hooks.
At one point, the 19-year-old Indian landed a double jab, followed by two right hooks and two body shots to score crucial points. But Chang replied aggressively with a right cross and a flurry of jabs.
The Chinese boxer was cleaner with her punches and the four of the five judges ruled in her favour in the opening round.
In the second round, Preeti dialled up the intensity, trying to break Chang’s defence. But the Chinese, who enjoyed the crowd support, defended well, moving around the ring.
Chang was warned a couple of times for hitting behind the head of Preeti. Having done enough, the Chinese boxer continued to defend in the final three minutes to take the win.
In the 75kg semifinal, Borgohain controlled the bout by using her long reach and kept landing straight punches.
Trailing after the opening round, Manikon went all out in the next three minutes only to lose steam in the final round. Borgohain was the fresher of the two in the final round and just evaded whatever little punches Manikon threw at her.
After landing a few blows early on, Narender went into his shell. The Kazakh boxer asserted his authority taking the round 5-0.
In the next six minutes Kunkabayev showed more urgency, landing punches at will as Narender looked clueless. Trailing on all cards, the Indian was probably trying to go for a knockout but that punch never came.