Experienced Laishram Sarita Devi and young Pinki Jangra assured India of at least two bronze medals after reaching the semifinals of the women’s light (57-60kg) and 51kg boxing competition respectively in the 20th Commonwealth Games, on Wednesday.
The 32-year-old from Manipur came from behind to outsmart Charlene Jones of Wales 3-1 in a hard-fought quarterfinal bout. She will next take on Mozambique’s Maria Machongua in the semifinals on Friday.
Pinki, who had beaten Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom in the national trials to make it to the Indian CWG team, outclassed her Papua New Guinea opponent Jacquiline Wangi in a unanimous 3-0 decision by the judges in the semifinal bout.
In men’s 69kg division, young Indian boxer Mandeep Jangra also assured himself of a bronze in his debut Commonwealth Games by advancing to the semifinals after his opponent failed the medical test ahead of their quarterfinal bout.
The Asian Championships silver-medallist, who has won two rounds so far in the event, will now be up against the winner of the clash between Canadian Custio Clayton and Northern Ireland’s Steven Donnelly.
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The 21-year-old, a protege of former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Akhil Kumar, was declared the winner after his rival, Daniel Lewis of Australia, failed to get the doctor’s clearance to fight due to a cut above his eye sustained during the pre-quarterfinals.
In another quarterfinals of men’s 91Kg category, India’s Amritpreet Singh suffered a 0-3 loss to Stephen Lavelle of Scotland.
In the women’s light (57-60kg) quarterfinals, Sarita was lagging behind after the first round as Jones started the proceeding with a perfect 10 from each of the three judges.
But the Indian soon got her act together as she outwitted the Wales pugilist 30-27 in the second, before edging her out by an identical margin of 29-28 in the third and fourth rounds to bring joy to the Indian camp.
Earlier, playing her first Commonwealth Games, Pinki came up with such a dominating show that it earned her a perfect 10 score from every judge in each of the four rounds.
The 24-year-old from Hisar in Haryana produced precise punches and her flurry of hooks with her right hand broke down the guard of her opponent.
Wangi took a lot of blows on her temple and by the third round she was left disoriented. Such was the dominance of Pinki that it left her rival knock down and she had to face the eight counts during the bout.
Despite facing such a flurry of punches, a gritty Wangi didn’t give up and after the bout, the Indian went to her opponent and embraced her.