Twenty boxers now stand just three rounds away from gold after Saturday saw the semi-finals take place in five more weight categories at the 2017 AIBA Women’s Youth World Boxing Championships in Guwahati, India. It was the turn of the Light Flyweight (48kg), Bantamweight (54kg), Lightweight (60kg), Welterweight (69kg) and Light Heavyweight (81kg) boxers to entertain the crowds, and seven countries saw their boxers safely progress to Sunday’s finals.
The evening began well for the hosts, Nitu victorious in her tight Light Flyweight (48kg) contest against China’s Yuan Nie to set up a hotly anticipated final against Zhazira Urakbayeva. The Kazakh recovered from a sluggish start to put Ireland’s Caitlin Fryers under pressure in round two before landing some deft counter-attacks in the closing stages to win through.
It was a more emphatic route to the Bantamweight (56kg) final for India’s Junior World Champion Sakshi Choudhary. Having launched a series of well-timed left jabs and big hooks in the early stages against Japan’s Sena Irie, Choudhary slowly built up the momentum, dominating her opponent sufficiently by midway through round three to force the Japanese corner to throw in the towel. India’s rising star now meets England’s Ivy-Jane Smith in Sunday’s final, winner over USA’s Isamary Aquino.
South Korean newcomer Im Ae Ji has been a revelation in Guwahati at Lightweight (60kg), and was again able to outbox a hugely talented opponent, this time Australia’s impressive Ella Boot, to secure a unanimous points win and richly deserved shot at the gold medal. To win the title, she will need to maintain her strong form against the Italian 17-year-old Vittoria De Carlo, after she eliminated Kazakhstan’s Zhansaya Baltabekova in equally convincing fashion.
United States’ Youth National Champion Citlalli Ortiz eliminated her main rival, Kazakhstan’s Nadezhda Ryabets, in the last 16 and rarely looked in trouble during her unanimous win over Germany’s Alina Popp at Welterweight (69kg). She will now battle Natalia Sychugova for the world title, the Russian having made light work of Turkey’s Canser Oltu as she continued her excellent campaign in Guwahati.
Wrapping up the penultimate day, the Light Heavyweights (81kg) then delivered two entertaining bouts as first Kazakhstan’s experienced Araylym Begdilda despatched Ukraine’s Yelyzaveta Sliusar, before the Russian team saw their second boxer of the day through to the gold-medal match, Anastasia Rybak overcoming India’s Anupama with a determined display.