Manju Rani, seeded sixth, defeated Thailand's Chuthamat Raksat 4-1 in her semifinal bout (Photo Credit: Twitter)
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 in Ulan Ude on Saturday. Sixth-seeded Rani defeated Thailand's Chuthamat Raksat 4-1 in her semifinal bout. Mary Kom, seeded third, lost 1-4 to second seed Cakiroglu, who is the reigning European Championships and European Games gold-medallist. The Indian contingent sought a review of the decision but the appeal was turned down by the International Boxing Association's (AIBA) technical committee. The rules mandate that the decision has to be either 3-2 or 3-1 for an appeal to be even accepted for consideration. "How and why. Let the world know how much right and wrong the decision is," Mary Kom later tweeted expressing her anguish at the loss.
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 blows. 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. Later in the day, Jamuna Boro (54kg) will take on top seed and former Asian Games bronze-medallist Huang Hsiao-Wen of Chinese Taipei. Last edition's bronze-medallist Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) will face China's Yang Liu, who took down top seed Chen Nien-Chin.