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Thursday, April 02, 2020

World Boxing Championships: The four in the last four

India has got an unprecedented number of boxers in the semis of the World Boxing Championships. Here's who they are up against

By: Express News Service | Updated: October 12, 2019 10:17:02 am
World Championship, World Boxing Championship, World Boxing Championship Indians, Mary Kom, Manju Rani, Jamuna Boro, Lovalina Borgohain, Sports news, Indian Express Mary Kom is chasing her seventh World Championship gold medal. (BFI)

Mary Kom (51kg)

Opponent: Buse naz Cakirogllu (Turkey).

Cakirogllu is a very cagey boxer, who likes to hang back and catch her opponents on the counter. But while she begins slow, the reigning European Games and Championships gold medallist ratchets up the tempo as the fight unfolds. In her quarterfinal, she kept former professional world champion Zongju Cai of China at bay with her lightning-quick lead overhand. In short, the 23-year-old southpaw has all the ingredients required to out-Mary Mary.

The Indian has the experience to switch up her gameplan on the fly and has been tested by both an ultra-aggressive and a cautious counter-attacking boxer in her run to the semis. The Indian has never lost a Worlds semifinal and looks good to continue the run on Saturday.

Manju Rani (48kg)

Opponent: Chuthamat Raksat (Thailand)

The unheralded Manju has been in sensational giant-killing form in Russia and toppled top seed North Korean Kim Hyang-Mi on Thursday. Up next for the 19-year-old is an opponent who has dispatched her own share of favourites this week.

A very loose striker with a penchant for heated exchanges, the unseeded Raksat defeated third and fifth-seeded contenders to ensure her second Worlds medal. After an unsuccessful move up to the flyweight division, the 26-year-old has returned to the 48kg category, in which she won the medal at the 2014 Worlds. Taming a carefree Manju, though, would be a tall ask for the Thai boxer.

Jamuna Boro (54kg)

Opponent: Hsiao-Wen Huang (Chinese Taipei)

It will take something special for Boro to take out the top seed on Saturday. In fact, Chinese Taipei look all set to retain the gold medal in the 54kg category through Hsiao-Wen Huang, who exchanged weight categories with last year’s gold medallist Lin Yu-ting (who is now tormenting the 57kg competition). Huang, the Asian Championships silver medallist, has recorded two 5-0 wins this tournament. At 5’7, she is an absolute beast in the bantamweight category, and the massive height advantage is only accentuated by her lanky frame and long reach.

Lovlina Borgohain (69kg)

Opponent: Liu Yang (China)

China’s gambit to sit out last year’s finalist and current Asian champion Gu Hong in favour of the relatively unknown Liu Yang has paid dividends. Yang, 27, defeated defending welterweight champion and top seed Chen Nien-chin via a split decision in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

The Indian could choose to look at the brighter side, as Yang’s march to the semis means Borgohain avoided a Worlds semifinal rematch with Chen, who won the contest handily in the last edition. The 22-year-old frequently switches off in high-profile clashes, but the desire to improve on the bronze from last year could spur Borgohain on to the final.

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