2018 World Championships silver medallist Sonia Chahal (57kg) and Youth World champion Jyoti Gulia (51kg) stormed into the quarter-finals of the fourth Elite Women’s National Boxing Championships at Kerala on Wednesday.
Chahal, who won the 57kg gold in 2016 and bronze in 2017, endured stiff resistance from All India Police’s Sandhyarani Devi in 57kg before coming out winner 4-1.
“I started slow but was able to go on all-out attack in the third round. Overall, I am happy with my performance. Getting the gold here is important for me as it will give me the confidence to play the trials for the Olympic qualifiers. I hope to give my best and get the gold,” said Chahal after the bout.
Youth Olympian and Youth World Champion Jyoti, representing the Railways, however, had a much tougher time in the ring.
Chandigarh’s India Open silver medallist Monika proved to be quite a challenge for Jyoti, who needed to dig deep to edge past her opponent with a 3-2 victory.
Cologne World Cup gold medallist Meenakumari Devi, who is also the defending champion in 54kg, didn’t need to exert much effort as she was declared winner by RSC (Referee Stop Contest) in Round 3 against UP’s Kanika Chaudhary.
Cologne World Cup silver medallist Pwilao Basumatary also made an impressive start to her gold medal quest in 64kg against Delhi’s Aarti Rawal.
The Assam pugilist, representing RSPB, emerged winner by dint of RSC in Round 3.
Later, 2019 President’s Cup (Indonesia) gold medallist Monika landed a strong flurry of punches in her 48kg bout to record a commanding 5-0 win over Himachal Pradesh’s Jyotika Bisht.
Punjab and Chandigarh’s boxers put up a dazzling display as usual.
Minakshi (48kg), Riya Rani (54kg), Manu Badhan (75kg) and Parminder Kaur (81kg) put Punjab on the winners’ column.
Chandigarh’s Ritu progressed in 57kg via an RSC win in Round 2 over Jammu & Kashmir’s Neha Bhagat, while Neema (64kg) emerged 5-0 winner over Maharashtra’s Simran Mendon.
One of the biggest upsets of the day, however, was the exit of Chandigarh’s promising Nandini in 81kg.
Nandini, who was a part of the 2019 Women’s World Boxing Championships squad, was knocked out 1-4 by Uttar Pradesh’s Shaily Singh.