India's Manju Rani's dream run at her maiden Women's World Boxing Championships continued as she entered the light flyweight final after defeating Thailand's Chuthamat Raksat 4-1 in the semi-finals in Ulan-Ude, Russia on Saturday. Six-time world champion MC Mary Kom (51kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69 kg) and debutante Jamuna Boro (54 kg) lost their respective semi-final bouts to end their campaign with a bronze medal.
Manju is just the third Indian to enter the final of the 45-48kg category at the Worlds after Mary Kom and Sarjubala Devi. Mary Kom has two golds and one silver in this category, while Sarjubala also won silver in her lone final appearance in this category at the Worlds.
Manju had earlier registered a 4-1 comeback win over the top seed and Asian Games bronze medalist Kim Hyang Mi in the quarterfinals. She will face Russia's Ekaterina Paltceva in the final. Second-seeded Paltceva defeated England's Demie Resztan in the semis.
Earlier in the day, MC Mary Kom lost to Turkey's European champion Busenaz Cakiroglu by a split 4-1 verdict.
The Indian contingent sought a review of the decision but the appeal was turned down by the International Boxing Association's (AIBA) technical committee. "Mary fought exceptionally well and should have won the bout. We are still quite stunned that the decision did not go in her favour," India's assistant coach and Mary Kom's trainer Chhote Lal Yadav told PTI.
This is Mary Kom's first loss at the semi-final stage of the World Championships. She had won each of her previous seven semi-finals at the tournament.
Besides six world titles, Mary Kom has also won an Olympic bronze medal (2012), five Asian titles, gold medals at the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games.
In the Worlds quarterfinal, she had beaten Colombia's Valencia Victoria by a unanimous 5-0 verdict.
Before this edition, she had won six golds and a silver at the World Championships, but this is the first time the Manipuri has secured a world medal in the 51kg category. Mary had only reached the quarterfinals once previously in this division in the past.
She had won gold in the 48kg category in the last World Championships in New Delhi in 2018, defeating Ukraine's Hanna Okhota in the final. She had moved up a weight category for these World Championships as the 48kg category is not a part of the Olympics.
In the 54 kg semi-final, Jamuna Boro lost 5-0 to top seed Huang Hsiao Wen from Chinese Taipei to win bronze.
With this performance, Boro became just the second Indian after Laishram Sarita Devi to win a medal in this weight category at the Worlds. Sarita had also won a bronze in Podolsk in 2005.
Huang was dominant from the outset as she kept the Indian a safe distance away throughout. That ensured that indian failed to land clean punches on the Taipei boxer.
"I am happy with the bronze but I think I could have done better. Obviously I made mistakes, that's why I lost. I will go back and make sure those mistakes are not repeated and I do better next time," Boro told PTI after the loss.
In the final bout of the day with Indian interest -- the women's 69 kg semi-final -- Borgohain lost narrowly with a score of 3-2 against China's Yang Liu.
Borgohain found a wily opponent in Liu. The Chinese boxer had a definitive reach advantage and made it count with her jabs. Borgohain did well in counter-attacks but Liu claimed the upper-hand with her more forcefully-struck punches.
This is Borgohain's second medal at the Worlds. She had won bronze in the same category in the last edition in New Delhi in 2018.
Liu had earlier defeated top seed Nien-Chin Chen by a 3-2 scoreline in the quarterfinals. Interestingly, Borgohain had lost to Chen in the semi-finals last year.
Borgohain is the only Indian to medal in the 69kg category at the Worlds.