Kolkata: Mary Kom, the much decorated Indian boxer, lined herself up for a sixth gold medal in the Asian Championships when she shrugged off the challenge of Lutsaikhan Altantsetseg of Mongolia in the women’s 51kg semi-final in Dubai on Thursday evening.
The owner of six medals in the championship, including five gold, Mary Kom will have her task cut out against Kazakhstan’s two-time world champion Nazym Kyzaibay - who entered the final after overpowering Sri Lanka Nadeeka Pushpakumari with the referee stopping contest (RSC) after the first round. After a day’s rest on Saturday, the women’s finals are scheduled on Sunday with the men’s the day after.
A six-time world champion, Mary Kom made a defensive start and took her time in the first round, making her Mongolian opponent work hard for the angles. The Indian veteran looked in good touch in the next round as she landed timely and powerful punches to put pressure on Altantsetseg. Playing only her second event since the lockdown after having recovered from a bout of dengue, the 38-year-old kept her calm and used all her experience to take charge of the game and completed a 4-1 win.
There was an element of drama in Indian Sakshi Chaudhary’s bout when the two-time youth world champion upstaged the 2016 world champion Dina Zholaman of Kazakhstan 3-2 in the 54kg semi-final clash. However, the Kazakh boxer appealed for a review of the last round of the bout and the the jury upheld it to reverse the result 3-2 in favour of Zholaman.
Meanwhile, Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Monika (48kg) and Jasmine (57kg) had to be content with bronze medals after suffering crushing 5-0 defeats against Kazakh boxers Rimma Volossenko, Alua Balkibekova and Vladislava Kukhta, respectively, in their semi-final bouts.
With 15 medals confirmed in the ongoing event, Indian contingent achieved their highest medal haul, bettering previous best of 13 from the 2019 edition in Bangkok where they finished third with two gold, four silver and seven bronze medals.
The International Boxing Association, AIBA has allocated US $ 4,00,000 prize money for the event, which is jointly hosted by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) and UAE Boxing Federation. The gold medallists of men’s and women’s categories will be awarded with $ 10,000 while both the silver and bronze medal winners will take home $ 5,000 and 2,500 respectively.