Asian Games gold-medallist Amit Panghal (49kg) and former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen (51kg) were among the four Indian boxers who made the finals of the 70th Strandja Memorial Tournament on Monday in Sofia, Bulgaria. Amit, the lone Indian left in the fray in the men’s draw, defeated Morocco’s Said Mortaji in a split 3-2 verdict to set up a clash with Kazakhstan’s Temirtas Zhussupov.
Zhussupov edged past Argentina’s Jose Leandro Blanc in his semi-final clash. Zareen, a two-time national medallist, defeated Poland’s Sandra Drabik 3-2 in an intense see-saw battle.
Others who made the final stage in the women’s competition were Manju Rani (48kg) and Meena Kumari Devi (54kg).
While Rani got the better of Bulgaria’s Emi-Mari Todorova, Devi beat Russia’s Ekaterina Sycheva. Devi had won a bronze medal at the previous edition of the tournament which marks the beginning of the European boxing calendar.
However, Pwilao Basumatari (64kg), Neeraj (60kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) settled for bronze medals after losing their semifinal bouts.
While Basumatari lost to Italy’s Valentina Alberti, Neeraj was beaten by Sweden’s Agnes Alexiusson.
Borgohain, a world championships bronze-medalist and India Open gold-winner, was defeated by Chinese Taipei’s Nien-Chin Chen.
India had won 11 medals at the 2018 edition, two of them gold, which was also the country’s best ever performance at the prestigious tournament.
(With PTI Inputs)