Indian Women Boxers Make Presence Felt at World Championship
A fast and furious Pinki Rani made boxing look easy on the third day of the 10th AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships as she outscored Armenia’s Aush Gregoryan to win the flyweight bout 4:1 and move into the pre-quarterfinals at the KD Jhadav Hall here on Saturday.
Sonia in action on Saturday.
New Delhi: A fast and furious Pinki Rani made boxing look easy on the third day of the 10th AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships as she outscored Armenia’s Aush Gregoryan to win the flyweight bout 4:1 and move into the pre-quarterfinals at the KD Jhadav Hall here on Saturday.
The split verdict was very much on cards with both pugilists trading a flurry of blows in the first round but a tactically better-equipped Indian keeping a distance from the second punched her way into the next round, after having received a first-round bye.
The CWG bronze medal winner was getting too close for comfort which helped the European and World Youth Boxing champion charging at her with equally quick trading of punches, much to the chagrin of the Indian.
But, as the 28-year-old Indian later admitted, she followed the coach’s advice and benefited from it from round two. “My coach told me to keep distance and fight because I got very close in the first round,” said Pinki.
In fact, it did help Pinki as she started with a few jabs to get a clear opening for the target areas and she added a nice left to log her points. Then a combination blows also brought the confidence back after the first-round blues. But in the third, both boxers made an all-out attempt with the Indian gaining upper hand as the clocked ticked away. Close to the third round, the Indian added another left-right to finish off in style as she got full points from all but one judge (30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 27-30, 30-27).
“I was confident as I picked up rhythm in the second as advised by my coach. I was moving nicely and landing some quick punches. I simply followed the same tactics in the third,” said Pinki.
Sonia makes memorable debut
Earlier in the day, 21-year-old Sonia boxed her way into the pre-quarterfinals, getting a unanimous decision over her Moroccan rival Toujani Doaa. The featherweight (57 kg) boxer, who meets Stanimira Petrova of Bulgaria in her next round, had an unorthodox approach but impressive enough for the five judges to give the decision (5:0) in her favour.
The rookie and who is making her debut began with an open guard inviting the Morocco pugilist to take the initiative. Sonia, with a nice evasive action, managed to land a couple of left jabs and one straight during the first round which looked a close one.
Sonia continued with her left jabs, trying to land on the real scoring areas of her opponent using her unconventional methods, especially with the right. The experienced Moroccan, too, changed her strategy and lowered the guard more out of frustration than anything else. Though she did manage a few blows, she struggled to connect her punches.
But the third round proved to be very decisive when the Indian landed a right, then a combination of right-left and a left jab, even as clenches from both pugilists getting out of control, seeking referee’s intervention.
But the verdicts in favour of Sonia—four of five judges giving full points and one judge awarding a point less—indicated who dominated the bout.
Asked if she was nervous in her maiden appearance in the world championships, Sonia replied with a firm no. “I knew I had to maintain my distance and go close only to find openings. I was successful on a few occasions each in the first two rounds. But in the third, I went all out and used my combination punches,” said the rookie, who has a bronze medal to her credit from the Ahmet Comert Boxing Tournament in Turkey.
She also said that her coaches boosted her confidence before the beginning of the third round and advised to go all out. “My coaches said I was doing well and gave me the confidence to attack,” she added.
Earlier, Petrova defeated Rianna Rios of the US in what was a one-sided bout against the Fort Carson soldier. The sergeant in the US Army was expected to give a good fight, but the former world champion Bulgarian—Petrova won gold at Jeju in 2014 in bantam (54 kg)—proved too good in the end.
The Rio Games participant with a wonderful reach outsmarted the US boxer, is the top pugilist in her category.
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