Powerhouses Cuba and Uzbekistan halt Indian men's charge
M C Mary Kom struck gold in the women's category but India’s men were denied a complete sweep by traditional powerhouses Cuba and Uzbekistan on an exciting final day of the India Open boxing tournament, in Delhi, on Thursday.
Mary Kom (48kg) got the better of Filipino Josie Gabuco 4-1 in a battle of attrition as the Indian women stole the thunder from the men by picking five gold medals after the men were thwarted by Cuba and Uzbekistan.
Pwilao Basumatary (64kg) was the first among them to fetch gold. The former World and Asian bronze medallist claimed a 3-2 win over Thailand's Sudaporn Seesondee.
The Assam boxer is a regular in the national camp and had claimed a gold medal at the 2015 Nation's Cup in Serbia.
She hails from a small village in Kokrajhar, where several families were displaced during the 2012 riots. Her family was among those displaced by the violence but has since moved on.
Lovlina Borgohain, another Assam boxer, claimed the women’s welterweight (69kg) gold, getting the better of compatriot Pooja.
In the evening, Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Pinki Jangra (51kg) registered a unanimous victory over Mongolia's Jargalan Ochirbat. Manisha (54kg) added to the gold rush forwomen by claiming the top honours in the all-Indian final against M Meenakumari.
But former World champion L Sarita Devi (60kg) had to settle for a silver medal after losing to Finland's Olympic bronze-medallist Mira Potkenon.
Sarita gave her all in the bout but lost on a 2-3 decision after Potkenon salvaged a rather rusty performance with a final round flourish.
In the men's draw, Sanjeet (91kg) picked up India's first gold of the day when he upstaged Uzbekistan's Sanjar Tursunov.
The Indian matched Tursunov punch for punch in an engrossing contest before getting a split 3-2 verdict in his favour.
National champion Manish Kaushik (60kg), who stunned World and Asian medallist Shiva Thapa on Wednesday, did not have to step inside the ring to collect his gold.
Manish was given a walkover by his Mongolian opponent Battumur Misheelt, who pulled out owing to a cut sustained on his forehead during his semifinal bout.
Asian Games bronze medallist Satish Kumar (+91kg), however, settled for a silver, outwitted by Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov in a split 4-1 decision.
Dinesh Dagar took the welterweight (69kg) silver after going down to Uzbekistan's Bobo-Usmon Baturov.
In perhaps the most entertaining bout of the day, the Uzbek turned on the style against the gritty Indian.
With a smile on his face throughout and a mostly non-existent guard, Baturov was every bit a showman as he craftily got the better of Dinesh in a unanimous verdict.
To his credit, Dinesh connected a few lusty jabs of his own but Baturov was never really troubled.
Later, Devanshu Jaiswal (81kg) was up against Cuba's David Gutierrez.
Although the crowd favourite gave a good account of himself in defensive tactics, the Cuban connected enough with his jabs to score a split 4-1 victory.
Former World silver medallist Saweety Boora (75kg) also had to be content with a second place finish against Cameroon's Essaine Clotilde.
Each gold winner in the US $100,000 event went home richer by US $2500. The silver and bronze medal winners were presented US $1500 and US $500 respectively.