Gaurav, Vikas, Manish in semis, Mary in final; Sarita, Pinki crash out (Boxing Roundup)

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Gold Coast, April 11 (IANS) Indian boxers Gaurav Solanki, Vikas Krishan Yadav and Manish Kaushik entered the semi-finals while M.C. Mary Kom stormed into the final, even as Sarita Devi and Pinki Rani crashed out of the 21st Commonwealth Games here on Wednesday.

Gaurav defeated Charles Keama of Papua New Guinea in a unanimous 5:0 verdict in the quarter-finals of the men’s flyweight (52 kilogram) category while Vikas coasted to an easy win over Benny Muziyo of Zambia in the 75kg category. Manish also advanced, defeating Calum French of England in 60kg.

In women’s category, veteran Indian star M.C. Mary Kom defeated Anusha Dilruksh of Sri Lanka.

Gaurav came up with an impressive performance against three-time Oceania champion Charles Keama of Papua New Guinea to claim a well-deserved victory.

Vikas also registered a comfortable 5:0 victory over Benny Muziyo of Zambia in the last eight stage.

The duo thus confirmed another couple of medals to the Indian tally as every boxer in the last-four stage is assured of a spot on the podium.

Gaurav will fight Vidanalange Ishan Bandara of Sri Lanka in the semi-finals on Friday. Bandara outclassed Thabo Molefe of Lesotho 4:1 in another quarter-final on Wednesday.

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The last edition’s bronze medallist, Reece McFadden of Scotland, and Brendan Irvine of Northern Ireland will meet in the other flyweight semi-final.

In the quarter-finals, McFadden outclassed Pakistan’s Syed Muhammad Asif 5-0 while Irvine defeated Rajab Mahommed of Botswana 4:1.

Up against the vastly more experienced Keama, Gaurav delivered a composed, technically superior performance.

The Indian youngster had a lot of power in his punches and used his reflexes and a high guard to thwart his experienced south paw opponent.

Gaurav landed more scoring punches in a frenetic opening period, thus taking the early advantage.

The second round followed a similar script with Gaurav penetrating Keama’s defence with powerful jabs on several occassions.

Keama came out swinging in the third and last period in an effort to reduce the gap, but Gaurav did well to retaliate in an effective manner and take a well-deserved victory.

Later, Vikas coasted to an easy win over Muziyo.

The African adopted an attacking approach right from the start and Vikas responded by staying just outside his reach and using a higher guard than usual.

The 2014 Asian Games bronze medallist fought well on the counter, regularly finding the gaps and it did not come as a surprise when all the five judges ruled in his favour.

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In other bout, Manish also entered the semi-finals.

Manish overpowered Calum French of England by a unanimous 5:0 verdict.

Manish was seemed solid right from the start but soon, his opponent started counter-attacking. At one stage, the duo threw everything at each other and in the process Kaushik fought without a guard up. But at the end, it was the Indian boxer who proved superior and assured another medal for India.

In women’s 48kg category, Mary’s experience and superior technique stood her in good stead as she carved out a unanimous 5:0 verdict against the veteran Sri Lankan fighter.

The 39-year-old Anusha gave a good account of herself against the five-time world champion Indian before falling short in the end.

Both boxers were a bit cautious in the opening round, trying to gauge each other although Mary managed to land several punches.

Although the Lankan had the height and reach advantage, Mary used a low guard and used her reflexes and feet movement to take the advantage.

Both boxers were equally matched in the second round before the tempo picked up in the third as Mary picked up the points with a steady barrage of punches.

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However, Laishram Sarita Devi — another star boxer in the Indian women’s squad — fell short in the 60kg category, going down to Australia’s Anja Stridsman in the quarter-finals.

Sarita did well to trouble her opponent with superior technique and excellent movements throughout the fight and it came as surprise of sorts when the judges decided to award a unanimous 5:0 verdict in favour of the Australian.

Sarita dominated the opening round, attacking right from the start while the Australian had a more defensive approach.

The tempo picked up in the second round as Anja tried to match Sarita’s pace and aggression. The Indian used her superior technique and experience in her attempt to outpunch her opponent, but Anja did well to give her a tough challenge.

Both boxers came out fighting in the third round. Anja used her superior height and strong left jabs in her attempt to keep the Indian at bay.

Later in the day, Pinki Rani went down fighting to Lisa Whiteside of England in the women’s 51kg category.

Pinki, a bronze medallist from the 2014 CWG, lost 2-3 after a hard-fought contest that went down to the fire.

–IANS

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