New Delhi: Five-time world champion MC Mary Kom advanced to the final but Shiva Thapa settled for a bronze medal after an upset semifinal loss in the India Open boxing tournament for men and women here on Wednesday.
Seeded 12th, Mary Kom (48kg) was up against a rather gritty Mongolian Altansetseg Lutsaikhan. But the five-time world and Asian champion gained the upper hand with her aggressive approach in the first two rounds. The Manipuri did seem drained in the final three minutes but managed to connect just enough blows to come up trumps.
Mary Kom will face Philippine's Josie Gabuco, who sent second seed and local favourite Monika packing with a dominating performance.
However, there was a major upset in the men's draw when world and Asian medallist Shiva (60kg), seeded top in his category, settled for a bronze after going down in a unanimous verdict to fellow Indian Manish Kaushik.
Both the boxers fought hard in the bout that was high on counter attacks but Manish got the judges' nod for perhaps being a shade better on accuracy. This was Shiva's second loss to Manish after the national championships final last year.
In contrast, Asian bronze-medallist and light flyweight (49kg) top seed Amit Panghal advanced to the final after a split verdict over compatriot Nutlai Lalbiakimma.
In the women's draw, top seed L Sarita Devi (60kg) was up against fellow Indian Priyanka and the former managed to get a split verdict in her favour.
Sarita stood out for being a better power-puncher than her opponent and managed to connect a few telling blows to Priyanka's torso.
Sarita will face Finland's Olympic and world bronze-medallist Mira Potkonen in her summit clash.
"She hits very hard, her punches have a lot of power. I have to primarily guard against that," Sarita said about her final opponent.
Potkonen ousted second seed and home favourite Pavithra in her last-four stage clash.
However, world youth champion and top seed Shashi Chopra (57kg) was upstaged by compatriot Sonia in a rather bizarre contest in which both the boxers ended up being cautioned for being too defensive.
Eventually, Sonia prevailed in a unanimous verdict for perhaps being a shade more attacking and accurate than Shashi.
Sonia will face Filipino Nesthy Petecio in the final.
Also ending with a bronze medal was former world silver-medal winner Sarjubala Devi (51kg). Sarjubala went down in a split 3-2 verdict to Mongolian Jargalan Ochirbat.
Another fancied Indian name to bow out with a bronze medal in the women's draw was national champion and second seed Simranjit Kaur (64kg).
Simranjit was beaten by Thailand's Sudaporn Seesondee. Seesondee will square off against local favourite Pwilao Basumatary in the final.