Comeback queen MC Marykom faltered at the last hurdle, but a coalmine labourer's daughter helped India salvage some pride at the 4th Asian Women's Boxing championship that concluded in Guwahati on Sunday night.
Though North Korea was billed as the strongest of the 12 nations, the Chinese eves ended up the champion side with six gold. North Korea followed with four and India with three. India, incidentally, had the most finalists — nine compared to eight of China and North Korea’s six.
Manipur's Marykom, who returned to the ring two years after winning her third World Championship title in 2006, began strongly by leading 1-0 at the end of Round 1 of her pinweight (46kg) bout against North Korean Ok Jong. The latter came back strongly to win 4-1.
Assam's unheralded light flyweight (48kg) boxer Kalpana Choudhury, however, had other ideas as she rained punches on her Vietnamese challenger Ngo Thi Phuong to win 10-2. The coalminer's daughter literally toyed with Phuong's defences.
"She was coming on strong, but I was quicker to capitalise on her weakness," said Kalpana. She was later declared the best boxer while Kim Hyu Ka of North Korea was adjudged the best loser.
Similarly, Nagishetty Usha of RSPB proved too strong for her Kazakh opponent Imanbayeva Zhulbuzay in the 57kg featherweight bout, winning 7-1. On the other hand, in the light bantamweight bout between Manipur's L Sarita Devi and China's Ren Cancan, the two were tied 5-5 at the end of their 52 kg fight, but Sarita was declared winner (12-10) on the judges' individual scores.
The day's biggest disappointments came in the middleweight (75kg), light heavyweight (80kg) and heavyweight (86kg) categories with Haryana's Renu Gora, Kerala's Lekha KC and Haryana's Kavita Chahal being outclassed. Renu lost 7-1 to China's Li Zinzi, Lekha lost 6-3 to China's Zhang Jieli and Kavita was routed 10-0 by China's Zhang Lina.