Debutant Manju Rani was the only Indian to advance to the final stage at the 2019 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Russia’s Ulan-Ude, winning her bout 4-1 to set a date with local hope Ekaterina Paltceva.
Rani becomes the first Indian female debutant boxer in 18 years to make it to the last two of the World Championships.
In the other bouts, India’s Jamuna Boro and Lovlina Borgohain had to settle for bronze medals, after losing their respective semi-finals.
Earlier in the day, India’s Mary Kom created history as she won her first ever medal in the 51kg flyweight category - her eighth World Championships medal making her the most decorated boxer of all time - across genders.
In the light flyweight (48kg) semi-final between India’s debutant Manju Rani and Thailand’s Chutamat Raksat, there was not a dull moment as both boxers started aggressively from the off.
Rani, who bagged a unanimous victory in one of the earlier rounds of the competition, emerged with a 4-1 decision in her favour with scores of 29-28, 30-27, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28.
Manju Rani will take on Ekaterina Paltceva on Sunday, October 13 and the match be streamed live on the official AIBA YouTube channel.
Bronze for Boro
In the bantamweight category (54kg), Jamuna Boro bowed out against top seed Hsiao-Wen Huang of Chinese Taipei, who was declared the winner by unanimous verdict (5-0). Huang made the most of her significant height advantage as she dominated the early exchanges of the bout, almost punching at will with her left jab.
The young Indian, who had performed brilliantly thus far in Russia, closed the bout strong as her sudden attacks began worrying her lanky opponent.
Boro’s slow start ended up costing her as the judges awarded the win to Huang, with three scoring the bout 30-27 in her favour while the other two scored 29-28. Huang now faces France’s Caroline Cruveillier in the final.
In the welterweight category (69kg) Yang Liu of China narrowly triumphed over 2018 bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain of India.
Round 1 was a cagey affair as both pugilists kept their distance and weren’t too keen to initiate attacks. Borgohain showed a few attacking sparks but that went against her as the Chinese boxer managed a couple of punches on the counter to get a slender advantage.
Liu continued her strategy of playing on the defensive, keeping a fair distance and waiting for the Indian to commit to attacking stances. Borgohain connected with a few blows early on, but that was retaliated in equal measure as the bout progressed.
The final round was slightly more intense, with both boxers getting themselves into a tangle a couple of times. Borgohain tried to be on the offensive but her punches lacked the tenacity needed to fluster the Chinese.
The Indian struggled in the bout and could not dominate like she had in the past, with Liu’s tall frame neutralising the height advantage she had in a few previous bouts.
Liu prevailed by a narrow 3-2 margin and now faces Turkey’s Busenaz Surmeneli in the final.