Debutant Manju Rani (48kg) advanced to the final but six-time champion M C Mary Kom (51kg) settled for a bronze medal in the World Women’s Boxing Championships here on Saturday.
Sixth-seeded Rani defeated Thailand’s Chuthamat Raksat 4-1 in her semifinal bout. She will take on second-seeded Russian Ekaterina Paltceva in the summit clash on Sunday.
Jamuna Boro (54kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) also earned bronze medals. It was Borgohain’s second successive third-place finish.
Mary Kom, seeded third, lost 1-4 to second seed Busenaz Cakiroglu of Turkey who is the reigning European Championships and European Games gold-medallist.
Boro went down 0-5 to top seed and former Asian Games bronze-medallist Huang Hsiao-Wen of Chinese Taipei. Borgohain (69kg) squared off against China’s Yang Liu and was beaten 2-3 in a hard-fought bout.
The Indian contingent sought reviews of the decisions in Mary Kom and Borgohain’s bouts but the appeals were turned down by the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) technical committee.
“I am very disappointed with the decision. I think I fought much better and did not deserve to lose but I will try to ensure that this setback helps me achieve bigger things,” Mary Kom told PTI.
Rani, who hails from Haryana and made the national camp only this year, put up a gutsy show against the more muscular Raksat.
Relying on counter-attacks in the first two rounds, the Strandja Memorial silver-medallist went on the offensive in the final three minutes.
She rattled the Thai with her ferocious combination punches, piercing through her shell guard with forceful straight punches. Mary Kom also fought a tactically sound bout but was edged out by the Turk in a split verdict.
Both the boxers seemed hesitant to make the first move in the opening round but Mary Kom had the edge in counter-attacks as Cakiroglu struggled to make her height advantage count.
The second round followed a similar pattern as far as the tactics went and although it was close, the judges ruled in the Turk’s favour in a split call.
In the final three minutes, both the boxers upped the ante but Cakiroglu got the judges’ nod. “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.
Despite this loss, it was a stupendous campaign for the 36-year-old Mary Kom and added to her long list of accomplishments.
This bronze is her first world medal in the 51kg category. Besides six world titles, Mary Kom’s incredible career is also studded with an Olympic bronze medal (2012), five Asian titles, gold medals at the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games, besides numerous other international top finishes.