New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) Indian woman boxer Nandini came up with an inspired performance to storm into the semifinals of the Strandja Memorial Boxing tournament in Sofia (Bulgaria) on Wednesday to confirm the country’s first medal.
The 21-year-old started off brilliantly and dominated Kazakhstan’s Valeriya Axenova from the start in the women’s plus-81kg quarterfinals bout. The Mohali pugilist’s powerful punches unsettled her opponent in the third round before the Indian was declared winner by ‘Referee Stopping Contest’ verdict.
Nandini, who is the reigning national champion, has now secured at least a bronze with a place in the last-four, where she will take on another Kazakh boxer Lazzat Kungeibayeva, the former world champion and 2021 Asian Championships gold medallist.
Reigning youth world champion Arundhati Choudhary and Parveen also marched into the quarterfinals, registering commanding victories by identical 5-0 margins in their respective opening-round matches, played late on Tuesday.
While Arundhati outclassed Italy’s Melissa Gemini in the 70kg match, Parveen (63kg) blanked Kazakhstan’s Aida Abikeyeva.
Sachin Kumar (80kg), Rohit Mor (57kg) along with the country’s three women boxers — Meena Rani (60kg), Anjali Tushir (66kg) and Saweety (75kg) — made exits after losing their respective bouts.
On the fourth day of Europe’s oldest international boxing tournament, Anamika (50kg) will look to secure a medal as she will fight in the quarterfinals, while Sumit (75kg) will play his second-round match.
A 17-member Indian contingent, including seven men and 10 women, is competing in the tournament, which is seeing the participation of 450 boxers from 36 countries, including strong boxing nations such as Kazakhstan, Italy, Russia and France.