Mary Kom, Sonia Lather enter Asian Championships final

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Five-time world champion M.C Mary Kom (48kg) remained on course for a fifth gold medal after making the finals along with Sonia Lather (57kg) at the Asian Boxing Championships here today.

However, there was disappointment for India as well with four-time gold-medallist L Sarita Devi (64kg) settling for a bronze medal after losing to China’s Dou Dan in the semi-finals.

Mary Kom defeated Japan’s Tsubasa Komura in a unanimous 5-0 verdict to make the summit clash for the fifth time in her six appearances at the event.

Should she go on to win the final tomorrow, which will be against North Korea’s Kim Hyang Mi who got the better of Mongolian Nandintsetseg Myagmardulam, the Indian would be claiming her first Asian gold medal in the 48kg category.

The 35-year-old Rajya Sabha MP, who is also a former Olympic bronze-medallist, returned to her preferred weight category after five years of competing in 51kg, which was made an Olympic category in 2012.

Once again, it was a bout fought largely on defensive tactics. The Japanese boxer seemed too wary to go near the Indian, who had to quite literally lunge at Komura for her right hooks to connect.

Mary Kom’s patience with Komura’s tactics ran out in the second round and she increased the pace and ferocity of her own attacks to unsettle the Japanese.

The shell guard to stave off Komura’s feeble right straights ensured that the Manipuri hardly took any blow in what turned out to be a lopsided contest.

Sonia, in contrast, had to steer past a very aggressive Yodgoroy Mirzaeva, who lacked accuracy in placement of punches but wasn’t lacking in persistence.

Mirzaeva’s wild swings were easy to deflect for the Haryana-boxer, a former silver-medallist at this event, but it was nonetheless a draining contest given the Uzbek’s relentless attempts at connecting something.

In the end, Sonia was unanimously adjudged the victor and will be up against China’s Yin Junhua in the summit clash tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Shiksha (54kg) ended with a bronze medal after being outpunched by Chinese Taipei’s former youth world champion Lin Yu-Ting in the semi-finals.

Also signing off with a bronze medal was Priyanka Chaudhary (60kg). Priyanka lost to Korean Oh Yeonji in the semi-final.

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