World silver-medallist Sonia Lather (57kg) and Mandeep Jangra were among the finalists but Shiva Thapa (60kg) signed off with a bronze medal in a mixed first semifinal session for India at the Ulaanbaatar Cup boxing tournament in Mongolia today.
Also making the final was Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), a gold-medallist at the India Open earlier this year.
Ending with bronze medals were Shiva and Bina Devi Koijam (48kg), the latter a direct entrant into the last-four stage owing to the small size of the draw.
While Shiva lost a closely-contested bout to home favourite Battumur Misheelt, Bina was out-punched by Korean Kim Kum Sun.
Sonia, a two-time world and Asian championships silver-medalist, defeated Tiantian Zhao of China in a split decision. The Indian looked off-colour in the opening round, which Zhao dominated with her well-connected right hooks.
However, Sonia staged a strong recovery in the second and third rounds, drawing from her huge reservoir of experience to fetch a favourable verdict in the end.
She will face local favourite Tumurkhuyag Bolortuul in the summit clash.
Lovlina, in contrast, dominated from the very start, taking good advantage of her opponent Enkhbaatar Erdenetuya’s sluggish foot movement.
The Indian punched at will, her jabs connecting powerfully. The Assam-boxer will square off against Chinese Taipei’s Nien Chen Chen in her summit clash.
In the men’s draw, Mandeep, a former Commonwealth Games silver-medallist, was up against local favourite Tsend-Ayush Otgon-Erdene. The Indian was way superior when it came to hitting impactful punches and was also helped by a warning to Otgon-Erdene for excessive bending.
Shiva, on the other hand, fought out a messy slugfest with Misheelt. The former world bronze-winner and three-time Asian-medallist Indian connected better but could not get the nod from the judges, who were split in their verdict favouring the crowd favourite.>
Bina was beaten in a unanimous verdict by Korean Kim Kum Sun, undone by lack of power in her punches and the longer reach of her opponent.>