Lovlina, Jaismine, Hussamuddin off to winning starts
Lovlina Borgohain after winning the first round of women’s 75kg middleweight division bout

Gandhinagar: “Ek hath se nikal do Lovlina di” (Take her out with one hand) were the chants from the former world championship bronze medalist Jamuna Boro, cheering from the stands for Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Lovlina Borgohain, who left her unheralded opponent Nishi Bharadwaj from Bihar searching for cover before the judges awarded an RSC win for the lanky Assamese pugilist after the first round of the women’s 75kg middleweight division bout here on Wednesday.

Along with Lovlina, Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Jaismine Lamboria and Mohammed Hussamuddin registered convincing victories to advance to the next round of their weight categories as boxing competitions at the 36th National Games kicked off at the Mahatma Mandir here.

Flanked by former world championship medalist Shiva Thapa, Lovlina walked into the ring amidst cheers from the sizable crowd, more so from the Assam contingent, and took firm control of the bout from the onset. The difference in class was pretty evident between the opponents from either corner, with Nishi’s short frame making it even more difficult to connect.

Returning from a nose injury, Lovlina warmed up for the tougher bouts ahead with a flurry of punches that connected right on the Bihar pugilist’s face, to eventually clinch the contest in style. 

Earlier, in the women’s lightweight weight 60kg category bout, Haryana’s Jaismine was in an element of her own against Telangana’s Manasa Matterparthi, with the first-ever female boxing recruit in the Indian Army, registering a unanimous 5-0 win.

Similarly, Telangana’s Hussamuddin, representing Services, made light work of Uttar Pradesh opponent Satish Kumar to record a 5-0 unanimous verdict. Later after the contest, Hussamuddin said, “There was little time to specially prepare for the National Games, as we had the trials for the Asian Championship on September 15 and 16, which meant we had very little time after the Commonwealth Games.”

“It was a relatively easier opening bout today, but we have two big names in Rohit Mor (Delhi) and Sachin Siwach (Haryana) in the same category. The competition level will heat up from here on,” he added.

Rohit, who was also in action in the Featherweight (57kg) category, came back from a sluggish start in the first round to register a split decision 4-1 victory over Maharastra Rushikesh Goud. In the other contest of the category, Mizoram’s Lallawmawma, and Himachal Pradesh’s Ashish Kumar also registered victories.

In the men’s lightweight 60kg category, Delhi boy Ritik opened his campaign with a stunning knockout win in the first round over local lad Ankit Mayaram Nishad, while Himachal’s Jitender Thakur also made it a sweet outing for himself with a 5-0 unanimous verdict. In men’s light heavyweight 80kg division, Madhya Pradesh’s Abhinav Bhargav and Rajasthan’s Sumit Poonia advanced to the next round in contrasting styles. While Bhargav recorded a split decision 3-2 win, Poonia registered a stunning 5-0 win over Mizoram’s C Lalduhawma. 

In the men’s heavyweight 92kg category, Haryana’s Naveen Kumar recorded a split decision 4-1 victory in the opening round. Former national champion Narender representing the Services walked away with a 5-0 victory over Uttar Pradesh’s Vishal Yadav in a one-sided affair of the super heavyweight +92kg category. In the same division, Uttarakhand’s Sagar Singh also made it to the next round.

Among the other women, Delhi’s Pooja, Rebecca Lalinmawii of Mizoram, Haryana’s Minakshi and Uttarakhand’s Shobhja Kohli registered victories in their 52kg preliminary round bouts, while in the lightweight category, Manipur’s Pravish Konthoujam stunned Chandigarh’s Ritu by scoring a 4-1 split decision win before Maharashtra’s Poonam Kaithwas and Mizoram’s Kroshmangaihsangi also comfortably made it to the next round. In women’s middleweight category bouts, Maharashtra’s Sanika Sasane and Gujarat Ruchita Rajput advanced alongside Lovlina.

Also Read | Lovlina, Shiva, Hussamuddin to lead boxing roster at National Games

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