Vikas, Simranjit in Asian Qualifiers final; Mary Kom, Amit bag bronze

A resolute Vikas Krishan (69kg) and Simranjit Kaur (60kg) advanced to the finals with impressive victories but the legendary M C Mary Kom (51kg) and world number one Amit Panghal (52kg) signed off with bronze medals at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Jordan on Tuesday.

Also ending with bronze medals were Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Pooja Rani (75kg) and Ashish Kumar (75kg). All the seven boxers have already secured their tickets to the Olympic Games by making the semifinals but Krishan and Kaur will come back with at least silver medals after entering the finals.

He fought with a cut sustained on his left eyelid before claiming a split decision victory over second seed Ablaikhan Zhussupov of Kazakhstan, a two-time world bronze-medallist.

The 28-year-old Krishan will face feisty Jordanian Eishaih Hussein, who sent Asian gold-medallist and top seed Bobo-Usmon Baturov packing in a split decision.

Krishan, a former world bronze-winner and a Commonwealth Games gold-medallist, was the busier of the two boxers despite the injury he picked up in the second round and his right jabs were particularly effective through the bout.

Kaur (60kg) on the other hand upstaged third seed and Asian silver-medallist Shih-Yi Wu of Taiwan in a terrific come-from-behind win.

The Indian trailed in the opening round but roared back in the second with her precisely-placed combination punches before fending off a strong attack from Wu in the final three minutes.

She will take on Korea’s Oh Yeonji in the final on Wednesday.

In another good result, first-timer Sachin Kumar (81kg) remained in the hunt for an Olympic berth by defeating Manh Cuong Nguyen of Vietnam 4-1 in the first box-off.

He will have to get the better of Shabbos Negmatulloev of Tajikistan in the last box-off on Wednesday to book a ticket to Tokyo as only the top five qualify in his weight category.

In a major disappointment for India, six-time world champion Mary Kom lost to China’s Chang Yuan, a former Youth Olympics champion, in a split verdict.

Also bowing out with a bronze was world silver-medallist and top seed Panghal, who went down to Jianguan Hu of China in a split 3-2 decision.

It was revenge for Hu, an Olympic and world bronze-medallist who lost to Panghal in the Asian semifinals last year.

Panghal had endured exhausting contests in the run-up to the semis and he could not outpace the determined Chinese in Tuesday’s clash.

Earlier, two-time world bronze-medallist and second seed Borgohain lost to third seed and 2018 world silver-medallist Hong Gu of China in a unanimous 5-0 verdict after struggling to find her range against the experienced 30-year-old.

Rani too could not find her rhythm against world champion and top seed Li Qian, who is also a two-time Asian gold-medallist.

Ashish, despite an impressive show, fell short against top seed and world silver-medallist Eumir Marcial, who displayed better control.

The Indian was fidgety and made it hard for his rival to get a clear shot but the determined Filipino managed to get through nonetheless for a split verdict in his favour.

Eight Indian boxers have qualified for the Tokyo Games at the ongoing event so far, making India the most successful team here along with traditional powerhouse Kazakhstan.

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