She became the third Indian boxer to medal at the Olympics, but Lovlina Borgohain has unfinished business and is hungry for more. During a media interaction on Friday, the 23-year-old was asked about her journey from Baromukhia in Assam to Tokyo, initial struggles and conversations with her family. The answer was the same: “It’s only bronze right now. I will answer all questions, after the Olympic gold.”
On Friday, Borgohain won the 69kg quarterfinal 4-1 over former world champion Nein-Chin Chen of Chinese Taipei, a match-up she had lost four times before.
“It wasn’t about proving anything to anyone. I just had to prove it to myself,” Borgohain told reporters. “I had lost to her four times before. This is where I could have taken my revenge. I made no strategy. I thought, whatever happens, I will see it in the ring. I will adapt to the situation. Khul ke kheli.”
Borgohain was asked if her muay thai background played a role.
“I only learnt muay thai for a year, so it wouldn’t be fair to say that I earned an Olympic medal because if it,” said Borgohain, who won gold in muay thai nationals at Guwahati in 2010. “There were a couple of punches in boxing. So, the first national boxing title I won, I knew nothing about boxing and I only had those punches I learnt from muay thai.”
There were questions about meditation, and if it helped her become a fearless fighter. “There were some competitions where I would be scared. I became fearless when I started trusting myself” She said that meditation had been part of her routine since 2017, but not in the run-up to the Olympics.
“Last four months have not been about meditation. Boxing is a sport where there’s too much noise. New situations at every moment,” she said. “Dimaag ko thanda karke mujhe zyaada faayda nahi ho raha tha.”
There are inspirations. She has watched Muhammad Ali’s videos to see how the legend moved and used the long punch. Six-time world champion and Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom’s was the only name that mattered when Borgohain turned to boxing. “Mary didi trains with us and you can learn so many things.”
“But every boxer is different,” she added.
Next up is the reigning world champion and top seed Turk Busenaz Surmeneli in Wednesday’s semi-final. It is a tough bout but Borgohain is in the zone.
“Even if I break my hand, I have to fight, have to win.”
Borgohain admits that before Friday’s bout, she took a moment and pictured every person who has helped her along the way.
“After the final I will thank everyone. Abhi kya thank you bolu,” she laughed.