Lovlina, Sakshi advance to quarterfinals of Women’s World Championships

PTI, Mar 20, 2023, 8:25 PM IST

Sakshi Chaudhary in action (Credit: Twitter / @BFI_Official)

New Delhi: Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain made a winning start to her campaign as she and Sakshi Chaudhary moved to the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Championships with dominant victories here on Monday.

Both Sakshi (54kg) and Lovlina (75kg) notched identical 5-0 unanimous decision wins respectively. While Lovlina out-punched Mexico’s Vanessa Ortiz, Sakshi got the better of Zhazira Urakbayeva of Kazakhstan to progress to the last eight stage.

But the most electrifying Indian performance of the day was displayed by Preeti (54kg). The youngster though eventually lost her bout to last year’s 52kg silver medallist Thailand’s Jitpong Jutamas by a 4-3 verdict, the bout was so close that a review had to be taken. Preeti entered the tournament on the back of a selection row, where her place in the side was questioned as she didn’t win the National Championships.

However, the 19-year-old justified her place in the Indian team with her fearless performance. The tenacious Preeti showed aggression against a more experienced opponent to take the first round 4-1.

She fought toe to toe with Jutamas as both pugilists connected punches but the the Thai was able to edge the Indian and took the remaining two rounds with the final result being decided by a bout review.

”I learned a lot from this bout, the competitor was also good. I need to work harder. I was aggressive in the first round and I should have continued that and I should have dominated the bout,” Preeti said.

Competing in her new 75kg category, Lovlina, who received a first round bye, won her opening encounter to walk one step closer to a medal. The two-time World Championship bronze medallist looked a little defensive against her stocky opponent.

The Indian, who was considerably taller than her Mexican opponent, was forced to play from a distance as Ortiz capitalised on every opportunity to move forward and attack.

The result was that Lovlina wasn’t able to connect a lot of the punches as she seemed nervous moving ahead.

”It was my first bout, the boxer was shorter than me. I was not able to follow by strategy to the T. I am not very happy with this performance, I could have done better. She was coming ahead so I was forced to move back,” Lovlina said after her bout. ”It is my first World Championships in this weight category. It will be difficult as the other boxers are already competing in this weight class. We will have to see how to play with which opponent. I think I can do better.”

Sakshi, the 2021 Asian Championship bronze medallist, utilised her height and long reach to her advantage. She would punch Urakbayeva and step back quickly, not letting her opponent counter-attack.

The Indian danced around the ring, playing with aggression and released a number of punches to emerge victorious.

”I played much better than I expected. She is a good boxer so I thought it would be a 19-20 fight but the strategy worked for me and I was able to dominate,” Sakshi said after the bout.

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