Sofia (Bulgaria): Vikas Krishan (75kg) and Amit Panghal (49kg) claimed gold medals but the celebrated MC Mary Kom (48kg) had to be content with a silver in the 69th Strandja Memorial boxing tournament for men and women.
India ended the tournament with a whopping 11 medals -- five from men and six from women boxers. In all, the contingent clinched two gold, three silver and six bronze medals. Amit, who fetched the top honours at last month's India Open, defeated Morocco's Said Mordaji to fetch the yellow metal.
The 23-year-old Haryana-boxer recovered from a sloppy start to out-manoeuvre Mordaji, who was taller and matched the Indian in pace but eventually fell short on accuracy. Vikas, on the other hand, eased past American Troy Isley. It was a morale-boosting performance for Vikas, who had been laid low by a hand injury for a few months.
What stood out was Vikas' vastly improved stamina and lucid foot movement. He was challenged quite aggressively in the final three minutes but kept his composure to pull the off win. Mary Kom, who came into the event in pursuit of a third consecutive gold medal after the Asian championships and the India Open, lost to Bulgaria's Sevda Asenova in a rather shocking verdict.
It was a stunning result for Mary Kom, who dominated the bout against the local favourite. The Olympic bronze-medallist Indian was the one initiating any attack for most of the bout. In fact, she quite literally chased Asenova, who was content with occasional touches and back-paddling evasively. One such chase for getting a punch across by Mary Kom led to the boxers tumbling over each other.
It came as quite a surprise when the judges ruled in the Asenova's favour, leaving the Indian corner stunned. Later in the men's competition, Gaurav Solanki (52kg) took the silver after losing a closely-contested bout to Ukraine's Dmytro Zamotaev.
The Army boxer was the more aggressive of the two but Zamotaev's shell guard came to his rescue on most occasions. The Ukrainian was also inch-perfect in the few punches he threw in, especially in the final round. Also settling for a silver was Seema Poonia (+81kg), who went down to Russia's Anna Ivanova, done in by her rival's sheer power.
Seema was up against a power-puncher in Ivanova and was found wanting. Ivanova was also quicker of the two and stuck to hitting straight. Such was the Russian's dominance that even a warning in the final round for bending had no bearing on the final outcome.
The bronze medal winners among the women were Meena Kumari Devi (54kg), L Sarita Devi (60kg), Saweety Boora (75kg) and Bhagyabati Kachari (81kg). Among the men, last edition's silver-medallist Mohammed Hussamuddin (56kg), and former Asian Games bronze-medallist Satish Kumar (+91kg) had ended in third position.