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Railways dominate women’s boxing nationals

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Kannur (Kerala), Dec 7: Defending Champions Railways dominated the proceedings as 8 of their boxers, led by World Championships silver medallist Sonia Chahal (57kg) and India Open Gold medallist Bhagyabati Kachari (75kg) stormed into the final of the 4th Elite Womens National Boxing Championships at the Mundayad Indoor Stadium here in Kerala on Saturday.

2016 National Champion Sonia showed her experience and composure as she faced the challenge of young boxer Ritu from Chandigarh. The lanky boxer from Haryana took advantage of her height and relied on counter-punches to win the bout unanimously. Sonia will face Youth World Champion Sakshi in the finals.

"My strategy was to maintain distance and counter- attack my opponent. I played with the same strategy throughout the match and didn't face much trouble. I have defeated Sakshi once before and know what to expect from her. I will be up for the challenge tomorrow." said Sonia after the bout.

Youth World Champion Jyoti representing Railways, had an easy outing as she controlled the bout and defeated Manipur's Soibam Devi 5-0 in the 51kg category.

One of the best bouts of the day was played between two-time World Championships bronze medallist Kavita Chahal (81+kg) and Himachal Pradesh's Monika with both the boxers going tooth and nail battle right from the first round in a highly entertaining bout. Seasoned Kavita displayed her experience and reigned supreme in the end with a 3-2 split verdict in her favour.

Meenakumari Devi (54 kg), last year's gold medallist, continued her title defence with an easy 5-0 win over Divya Pawar of Madhya Pradesh.Last year's silver medallist, Bhagyabati Kachari (81kg) continued her fine run and showed her class against Lalfakmawii Ralte of All India Police to notch up a 5-0 win.

Kerala's Indraja (75kg) scripted one of the upsets of the day as she defeated last year's bronze medallist Imroz Khan 4-1 in the semi- final. Spurred on by the home crowd, the local girl set the ring on fire with her relentless attacking approach. She will face last year's silver medallist Nupur of Haryana in the finals.

"Indraja is a good boxer and her bout was quite impressive," said Indian Women's Boxing team head coach Ali Qamar who is in Kannur to keep a watch on the performances and on the lookout for fresh talents.

Former Youth World Champion Ankushita Boro (64kg), representing Assam, was at her attacking best against Uttar Pradesh's Aradhana Patel and won via RSC in the 2nd round. She will fight for the coveted gold medal against fellow Assam Boxer, Pwilao Basumatary, who is representing Railways.

Former Asian Championships silver medallist Pavitra (60kg) continued her fine run on her comeback as she trounced Maharashtra's Poonam Kaithwas 5-0. She will face 2017 World Youth Champion Shashi Chopra from Haryana in the final on Sunday. Shashi blanked All India Police's Rekha Tewatia 5-0 earlier on Saturday.

The finals will witness 8 boxers from Railways and 5 boxers from Haryana fight for the top honours.

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