Debutant Manju Rani on Saturday (October 12) reached the finals of World Women’s Boxing Championships in the 48kg category in Ulan-Ude (Russia).
The sixth-seeded Rani won her place in the finals by defeating Thailand’s Chuthamat Raksat 4-1 in her semifinal bout.
Rani, who hails from Haryana and made the national camp only this year, put up a gutsy show against the more muscular Raksat. Relying on counter-attacks in the first two rounds, the Strandja Memorial silver-medallist went on the offensive in the final three minutes.
She rattled the Thai with her ferocious combination punches, piercing through her shell guard with forceful straight blows.
Six-time champion MC Mary Kom, seeded-third, lost 1-4 to second seed Cakiroglu, who is the reigning European Championships and European Games gold-medallist.
“How and why. Let the world know how much right and wrong the decision is,” Mary Kom later tweeted expressing her anguish at the loss.
“Mary fought exceptionally well and should have won the bout. We are still quite stunned that the decision did not go in her favour,” India’s assistant coach and Mary Kom’s trainer Chhote Lal Yadav told PTI.
Another debutant Jamuna Boro (54kg) settled for bronze medals after her 0-5 semifinal loss to top seed and former Asian Games bronze-medallist Huang Hsiao-Wen of Chinese Taipei.
Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) too bowed out with a bronze. In case of Borgohain, it was her second successive third-place 2-3 finish against China’s Yang Liu.
Borgohain found a wily opponent Liu. The Chinese boxer had a definitive reach advantage and she made it count with her jabs. Borgohain did well in counter-attacks but Liu claimed the upper hand with her more forcefully-struck punches.
The Indian contingent sought reviews of the decisions in Mary Kom and Borgohains bouts but the appeals were turned down by the International Boxing Associations (AIBA) technical committee.
Despite this loss, it was a stupendous campaign for the 36-year-old Mary Kom and added to her long list of accomplishments. This bronze is her first world medal in the 51kg category.
“I am very disappointed with the decision. I think I fought much better and did not deserve to lose but I will try to ensure that this setback helps me achieve bigger things,” Mary Kom told PTI.
Besides six world titles, Mary Kom’s incredible career is also studded with an Olympic bronze medal (2012), five Asian titles, gold medals at the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games, besides numerous other international top finishes.
Later in the day, Jamuna Boro (54kg) will take on top seed and former Asian Games bronze-medallist Huang Hsiao-Wen of Chinese Taipei.
Last editions bronze-medallist Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) will face Chinas Yang Liu, who took down top seed Chen Nien-Chin.
(With inputs from agencies)