Sonia, Pinki, Simranjeet in quarters; Saweety knocked out of boxing Worlds

New Delhi: The giant-killing Sonia and experienced Pinki Jingra along with Simranjeet Kaur entered the quarter-finals of their respective weight categories in the 10th AIBA women’s World Boxing Championships at the KD Jhadav Hall here on Monday.

The three Indians joined the five other Indians — M.C. Mary Kom, Manisha Moun, Lovlina Borgohain, Bhagbati Kachari and Seema Poonia — in the last eight stages of the championships.

Seema, who received a first-round bye in +81 class, got a direct quarter-final entry with fewer boxers competing in the category.

But Saweety Boora was not as lucky as she lost in the middleweight (75 kg) pre-quarterfinals to Poland qualifier Elzbieta Wojcik, who won a unanimous decision against the Indian. Saweety had received a bye in the first round.

But the afternoon certainly belonged to Sonia, who beat former world champion Stanimira Petrova from Bulgaria in a split verdict decision of 3:2.

What caught the imagination of the boxing aficionados was the open-guard and carefree style of the 21-year-old.

The Haryana girl, who made her debut in the New Delhi event, seemed more determined throughout the nine minutes of the bout.

In the opening round, it was a very calculative Sonia who took her time, keeping away from the experienced Bulgarian with nice little jabs to the left and trying to look for an opening. In the process, she managed to deliver a couple of right-lefts even as the Bulgarian was countering well.

The 2014 champion boxer, who also competed in the Rio Games, had her own plans in the second and came back strongly to unsettle the Indian somewhat, making an impression on the judges with her combination blows.

But the clincher came in the third round when Sonia began aggressively and ended the same way using the last 30 seconds to pack a punch to her blows. In the end, the split decision (28-29, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28, 28-29) favoured the blue-cornered Indian.

“I followed my coach’s instructions to study my opponent’s style. She was obviously very good and despite my open guard I had a good defence too,” said the Indian.

Though the Bulgarian was unhappy with the judges’ decision, Sonia countered diplomatically, saying, “Sometimes we think we got points, but the judges know it better.”

Meanwhile, in what was a fast-paced 51 kg bout, Pinki Jangra got a unanimous decision when she beat the European champion from England, Ebonie Alice Jones, despite the latter forcing the Indian on the back foot straightaway.

Opening with left jabs the Englishwoman traded combination punches and the Indian countered well to trade off some punches. In the second, the first-timer at the Worlds came charging, equally aggressive, but it looked both had their misses and scores.

However, in the third the tiring Englishwoman, who almost cornered the Indian with little room to manoeuvre, found Pinki managing to send some combination punches and a good right.

In the last 20 seconds, the relentless Indian was piling on the agony. Pinki will meet North Korean Mi Choi Pang in the last four.

Later in the day, in the pre-quarters of the 64 kg category bout, Ludhiana girl Simranjeet got yet another unanimous decision as she beat Megan Reid from Scotland.

The debutant Punjab girl had an upper hand in all three rounds with an impressive display of fast and furious boxing.