Former world bronze-winner Shiva Thapa (63kg) advanced to the final with a hard-fought triumph along with Pooja Rani (75kg) but two other Indians ended with bronze medals after losing their opening bouts at the Olympic Test event for boxing on Wednesday. In the morning session of the semifinals, Thapa, a four-time Asian medallist who claimed his third national title earlier this month, defeated Japan’s Daisuke Narimatsu in a split verdict.
In the quarterfinals, the seasoned Assamese pugilist overpowered local favourite Yuki Hirakawa in a 5-0 verdict to fight his way into the medal rounds.
Rani, a former Asian Games bronze-medallist, got the better of Brazil’s Beatriz Soares in a unanimous decision. Rani had won a silver medal at the Asian Championships earlier this year.
However, former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen (51kg) and Vahlimpuia (75kg), in the men’s draw, lost their respective semifinal bouts to end with bronze medals. Both the pugilists had made the last-four stage without any preliminary contest owing to the small size of their respective draws.
Zareen lost in a split decision to Japan’s Sana Kawano, while Vahlimpuia was also beaten by a local favourite in Yuito Moriwaki but in a unanimous call by the judges. Zareen recently made headlines for a bitter row over selection for next year’s Olympic qualifiers where six-time World Champions MC Mary Kom has been preferred over her without selection trial.
The remaining three Indian boxers in the fray — Asian silver-medallist Sumit Sangwan (91kg), Ashish (69kg), and Simranjeet Kaur (60kg) — will fight their semifinal bouts in the evening session.
Sangwan, who was crowned national champion earlier this month, will square off against Kazakhstan’s Aibek Oralbay.