China's big star in women's boxing, two-time AIBA World Champion and Asian Games gold medallist Ren Cancan, showcased once again excellent footwork to defeat Kyrgyzstan's 17-year-old AIBA Youth World Championships quarter-finalist Bakhtygul Usupbayeva and progress in Ulanbaatar. Cancan remains the favourite for gold in the Olympic Flyweight class at the 6th edition of these Asian Women's Boxing Championships.
Ren Cancan's big rival in Ulanbaatar, Indian living legend, five-time AIBA World Champion Chungneijang Mary Kom Hmangte, was again pushed all the way in a pulsating battle with Mongolia's Asian Championships silver medallist Nandintsetseg Myagmardulam. Kom edged it with some clever combinations and this 14:11 victory secures her at least a bronze in the competition.
Japan's promising Flyweight, Ayako Minowa, who defeated Asian Games bronze medallist Aya Shinmoto in their National Championships in February, recorded her biggest career victory as she triumphed over Kazakhstan's defending Asian Champion Zhaina Shekerbekova. Minowa's 19:10 win secured her nation's only medal in the ASBC event.
Philippines' AIBA World Championships bronze medallist Alice Kate Aparri, a member of her national squad since 2001, advanced to the semi-finals as she eliminated Vietnam's Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai 25:14. Aparri secured a second medal for the Filipino squad in Ulanbaatar. Aparri will meet now Mary Kom in a much anticipated showdown this Saturday.
In the Olympic Middleweight class, South Korea's National Champion Kim Shin Hyeong, who will be celebrating her 17th birthday only in November, stopped Japan's famous TV star Shizuyo Yamasaki, in the first round of their bout. Kim will now fight China's AIBA World Champion and Asian Games winner Li Jinzi, who eliminated Kazakhstan's Asian Champion Dariga Shakimova 20:9, with a place in the final at stake.
DPR Korea's National Champion and newcomer at international level, Paek Su Rim, secured a podium finish by beating US National Championships silver medallist Flora Shen Dara, who represents Chinese Taipei. Rim will now be fighting India's Pooja Rani, who also secured her place in the Middleweight semi-finals following her unexpected defeat of Mongolia's Asian Games silver medallist Erdenesoyol Undram. The 21-year-old Indian rising star was sensational, overcoming the challenge of her experienced opponent by large margin of points.
In the non-Olympic categories, Thailand's best fighter, AIBA World Championships bronze medallist Tassamalee Thongjan, also reached the last four in Ulanbaatar, after she triumphed over Kazakhstan's Asian Championships bronze medallist Karaganda-based Oksana Koroleva 11:5. She will now meet with China's AIBA World Championships silver medallist Yang Yanzi in the Featherweight semi-final.
Vietnam's National Champion, 19-year-old Luu Thi Hanh, achieved a career highlight after beating Sri Lanka's Sithari Sandareka Borala Liyanage. Her compatriot, also a National Champion, Le Thi Nhung, who is competing in her first international competition, continued Vietnam's winning streak as she eliminated Mongolia's Erdenetsetseg Enkhbaatar. Nhung was impressive as she thumped her opponent 23:8 in the Welterweight division.
Sri Lankan National Champion Dapana Durage Shiromali Weerarathna, a newcomer to her national squad, defied the odds to win against Thailand's Anusara Dusanthia, guaranteeing herself at least a bronze medal in these Asian Championships. Her next opponent for a place in the final will be India's Monica Saun, who came out on top following her spectacular fight against Kazakhstan's Moldir Bazarbayeva.
All Chinese boxers still remain in the competition; India has eight athletes while host Mongolia and Kazakhstan both have got four competitors left. Altogether 13 nations have reached at least a bronze medal while Vietnam recorded its best ever performance with three semi-final places. The action has not disappointed.
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