Gandhinagar: Former world championship medalist Jamuna Boro of Assam battled high fever, teary eyes and body ache before dishing out a clinical performance to make it to the semi-finals of the women’s 57kg featherweight category at the 36th National Games here on Monday.
Jamuna was joined by her statemate and good friend Ankushita Boro of Assam, Alena Thounaojam of Manipur and Mizoram’s Malsawmitluanga to confirm a few more medals for the NorthEast from the boxing competition being held at the Mahatma Mandir here.
Up against Rajasthan’s lesser-known Sapna Sharma in the opening bout of the day, Jamuna’s technical superiority gave her a clear edge in all three rounds. Battling a high fever for the past three days, Jamuna, however, did not show any signs of fatigue in the ring and got her combination punches to great effect to register a clear 5-0 win in the women’s 57kg featherweight category bout.
“She has been unwell for the last couple of days, down with a high fever, but mentally very strong. Despite ill health, she has been training every day to make her maiden National Games campaign a memorable one,” a manager of the Assam boxing contingent told EastMojo.
Jamuna will next face Haryana’s Poonam, who defeated Manipur’s Samim Band Khulakpham by a split decision of 4-1 in another 57kg quarterfinal.
A few minutes later, Ankushita breathed fire on the ring against Gujarat’s Paramjit Kaur, who was left searching for cover against the former World Youth champion from Assam in the women’s 66kg welterweight quarterfinal. Up against a vociferous crowd cheering for the home girl, Ankushita rose to the occasion with an excellent array of shots to unsettle Kaur, who got as many as three standing counts before the referees decided to stop the contest in the second round.
“I wanted to go all out in today’s bout as I watched Paramjit during her pre-quarterfinal bout. There was home support for her but it didn’t matter to me in the ring, I wanted to give myself a clear win to motivate myself ahead of the semi-final. I’m very happy to confirm another medal for Assam in my first National Games,” she told EastMojo after her bout.
In the semifinal, Ankushita will take on Rajasthan’s Lalita, against whom she enjoys a dominating 3-0 advantage in head-to-head count. “I recently defeated Lalita in the semifinal of the Asian Championship trials in September. I got the better of her on two more occasions, so I know her game pretty well. I am confident of giving my 200 per cent,” she added.
In another women’s welterweight quarterfinal, Manipur’s Alena Thounaokam got the better of the 2018 world youth bronze medallist Astha Pahwa of Uttar Pradesh by a 5-0 verdict. In the semi-final, the Manipuri boxer will face Punjab’s Komalpreet Kaur, who defeated Madhya Pradesh’s Shruti Yadav by a 4-1 margin.
In men’s 75kg middleweight division, Mizoram’s Malsawmitluanga recorded a stunning 5-0 unanimous verdict win over Uttarakhand’s Pankaj Kumar. In the same category, Goa’s Puspender Rathee defeated UP’s Gagandeep 5-0, to set up a semifinal clash with the Mizo pugilist.
Among others in the fray on Monday, reigning national champion Summit Kundu and current Asian champion Sanjeet also made it to the semi-final stages. Representing the Services, Sumit, a quarterfinalist at the world championships, opened up in style against Haryana’s Ankit Khatana, who miserably failed to get his punches connected. Sumit managed to breach through the defences of the South Asian Games gold medallist across the three rounds before eventually pocketing the men’s 75kg middleweight category bout by a 4-0 unanimous verdict win at the Mahatma Mandir here.
Sumit, the Thailand One champion will now be up against Maharashtra’s Nikhil Dubey for a place in the final. Nikhil outclassed Delhi boy Buntee Singh 5-0 in a lop-sided quarter-final bout.
Representing Services, Sanjeet demonstrated his class, using his long ranges to great effect against the shorter Delhi opponent Harsh Kaushik, who braved two standing counts of eight in the second round. In the third round, Sanjeet got his headshots on target even as Harsh received another standing count to eventually lose the bout by RSC.
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