GUWAHATI — India assured themselves of five bronze medals in the AIBA Women’s World Youth Boxing Championships with local star Ankushita Boro, Shashi Chopra, Sakshi, Nitu and Jyoti cruising into the semi-finals here Nov. 22.
The other Indian on show in the morning session, Niharika Gonella, however, missed out on her medal opportunity, bowing to the more accomplished and technically stronger Georgia O'Connor of England.
America's Heaven Garcia was the shock defeat of the day, losing to Kazakhstan's Zhansaya Abdraimova in the flyweight category.
Local favorite Boro was declared the winner over Rebecca Nicolli in the light-welter weight category. The win was especially sweet as she had lost to the Italian 0-5 in Sofia, Bulgaria just a couple of months ago.
Boro seemed disappointed with a split-decision victory but was delighted that she not only advanced but also got her revenge.
"I never expected the bout to be tough. I was confident that I would win," Boro said proudly, even as the packed stadium roared in appreciation.
Jyoti began India's march into the semi-finals beating Marchese Giovanna of Italy in the Flyweight category quarters.
Jyoti's ploy worked nicely, often finding the target and she followed it up with a double or triple punch combo before stepping back and out of danger's way.
"The coach told me to keep moving around the ring and use the jab and 1-2 combo more often. And when she began holding me in the second and third, he told me do infighting, release a burst of punches to her stomach and pull out, which is exactly what I did and it worked," Jyoti said after her victory.
Chopra's opponent in the feather weight category Abilkhan Sandugash from Kazakhstan is an established boxer, technically sound and physically strong. It was just a bit of smarter boxing that won Chopra the day, though, thanks to her straight punching that often gave her the desired results.
"I had beaten her in Istanbul, so I knew her style and strategy well. I ensured I kept my guard up in the second and third rounds to avoid giving away points and implemented the coach's strategy of attack and defense in the second round before stepping on the gas in the final round."
"I knew I scored enough points to win the bout hands down," Chopra said.
Sakshi showed her intent right from the word go, in her 54-kg bout against Xia Lu of China.
The Indian attacked with a series of combinations that reeled the hapless Lu. The referee did a standing count on three occasions before he decided to call off the contest in the second round.
Nitu was equally dominant against Maxi Klotzer of Germany in the 45-48kg category. She dominated all three rounds to be declared unanimous victor.
In one of the most exhaustive and exciting bouts of the afternoon, China's Cailing Hu and Russia's Valeria Rodionova engaged in a slugfest in the 57-kg category that had all the trappings of a thriller.
Though Rodionova was the stronger of the two, Hu was more clinical and had a higher percentage of shots on target, bobbing and weaving with alacrity to win the favor of the judges for a unanimous victory.
Over 150 boxers from 38 countries are competing in the event, being held in India for the first time.