Gandhinagar: Assam’s Ankushita Boro set up an exciting Northeastern derby with Manipur’s Alena Thounaojam in a battle of supremacy for the 66kg welterweight category title at the 36th National Games here on Tuesday. 

Among others from the region to advance to the finals are Tokyo bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain of Assam and Mizoram’s Malsawmitluanga in the women’s and men’s 75kg middle weight divisions, respectively.

However, it was heartbreak for multiple Asian championship medalist Shiva Thapa of Assam, who went down 2-3 in a close bout against Services’ Akash. His statemates, Jamuna Boro (57kg) and Pwilao Basumatary (60kg) also settled for the bronze. 

Among the region’s other boxers to take the bronze are Manipur’s Pravish Konthoujam (women’s 60kg) and Mason Moirangthem (men’s 60kg), Tripura’s Karan Rupini (men’s 51kg) and Mizoram’s Lallawmawma (men’s 57kg). 

In women’s 66kg, former Asian youth champion Ankushita forced the referee to give two standing counts of eight within 30 seconds of the opening round against Rajasthan’s Lalita before walking away with a one-sided 5-0 win. 

In the process, Ankushita, the bronze medalist at the 2022 Elorda Cup in Kazakhstan, extended her unbeaten record to fourth against the Rajasthan pugilist.  In the other last four bouts, Manipur’s Alena registered a close 3-2 split decision victory over Punjab’s Komalpreet Kaur.

“I’m thrilled at winning another bout against Lalita, my win record has gone to 4-0 now. But the real fight is on Wednesday. It will be great fun to have two boxers from the Northeast fighting for the title. I’m looking forward to a challenging bout tomorrow,” Ankushita told EastMojo after her semifinal win.

In the women’s 75kg middleweight category bout, Lovlina lit up the ring displaying her class against local girl Ruchita, who looked good in patches before the lanky Assamese boxer used her experience to set up a summit clash with Haryana’s Saweety Boora. 

Two-time CWG medalist Mohammed Hussamuddin inched closer to clinching his first ever National Games title after recording a 5-0 unanimous verdict win over Mizoram’s Lallawmawma. Hussamuddin breached through the defences of the Mizo boxer on numerous occasions, before closing the bout with a brilliant mix of combination punches and jabs to make his way to the final. 

In the final, the Telangana pugilist, representing Services, will take on world youth champion Sachin Siwach of Haryana, who made light work of Gujarat’s Aasifali Asgarali Saiyed 5-0. There was no match between the two opponents as Sachin powered through all the three rounds without much resistance from the home boxer, who will be content with a bronze in his first ever National Games in front of his home crowd.

The first semifinal of the women’s 57kg featherweight witnessed a close contest between world championship medallist Jamuna Boro of Assam and Haryana’s Poonam, with the latter eventually taking it 4-1 in a split decision verdict. 

Jamuna, who is yet to fully recover from high fever, presented a brave face by using her combination punches to great effect in the opening round, before the Haryana boxer bounced back in the next two rounds to eventually pocket the contest. In the other semifinal, Punjab’s Mandeep Kaur, a former junior world champion,

“The body was stiff, and she has been suffering from exhaustion after being ill. It was a close bout today and could have gone either way. She isn’t happy with the bronze though,” said an official of the Assam boxing contingent here.

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