Three Indian boxers, including Nikhat Zarin, made it to the semi-finals in their respective events after sensational victories, while Lulina Borghoen crashed out of the last eight at the Commonwealth Games here on Wednesday.
With their wins, Zarin (50kg), Neetu Gangas (48kg) and Muhammad Hussamuddin (57kg) assured India of three boxing medals.
On the other hand, Olympic bronze medalist Bourgogne was pipped by last edition’s silver medalist Rosie Eccles of Wales.
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Leading by narrow margins in the opening two rounds, the 24-year-old Bourgogne lost 2-3 in the light-middleweight quarterfinals.
Reigning world champion Zarin dominated the light-flyweight quarter-finals with a 5-0 unanimous decision over Helen Jones of Wales.
Hussamuddin defeated Namibia’s Triagen Morning Devillo 4-1 to advance to the men’s 57kg semi-finals and collect his second consecutive CWG medal.
The 28-year-old from Nizamabad won a bronze medal in Gold Coast four years ago. Hussamuddin had to work hard for the win as it was a tight contest that could have gone either way.
Earlier in the day, Neetu opened the proceedings as she unleashed her ferocity to defeat Northern Ireland’s Nicole Clyde in the women’s 48kg category and give India its first boxing medal of the ongoing Games.
The 21-year-old from Dhanna in Bhiwani district dominated the first two rounds against Clyde, before the contest was over and the result was one-sided.
Making her CWG debut, Neetu had big shoes to fill in the weight category of the great MC Mary Kom, who injured herself during the selection trials held before the mega event.
The Indian contingent had trained in Ireland before coming to Birmingham and assisted Neto in the fight against the Clyde.
“It was my first match against him but we trained together in Ireland two weeks ago and did the touches and everything.
“I knew what to expect. This is just the beginning, I have a long way to go,” said an extremely confident Neto after winning the quarter-finals.
“I just listen to my coaches and try to get it done in the ring,” he said when asked about his long-term goals.
The Strandja Memorial gold medalist has no role models and is not even interested in watching videos of other boxers.
She is competing in the legendary Mary Kom’s weight division but Neetu insists that she was never under any pressure.
Neetu, who started boxing in 2012, suffered a serious shoulder injury in 2019 that kept her out of action for a long time.
She belongs to a place where girls are not encouraged to play sports. However, one fine day his father enrolled him in a nearby academy and the rest followed.
Neetu’s father had to quit his job in Chandigarh to support Neetu’s dream. She will settle for nothing less than gold but hopes that a medal at the CWG will lead to a financially secure future.
“We live in a joint family. My father stays with me all the time so he can’t work. His elder brother bears all the expenses as we live in a joint family. Hopefully this medal will make a big difference. Ga,” Neetu added.
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