Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) of India won the country’s second bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, following shuttler PV Sindhu, when she went down swinging in her 69kg welterweight semifinal against Busenaz Surmeneli on Wednesday (August 4). Lovlina became only the second female boxer to earn an Olympic bronze medal, following MC Mary Kom. Mary Kom had earned a bronze medal at the London Olympics in 2012.
Borgohain was completely out-punched in the ring by the gold medal favorite, who delivered a truly dominant performance. Despite a handful of cautions, the Assam boxer received a one-point deduction in the second round for failing to pay heed to the referee’s instructions.
The Indian got off to a good start, holding her own against the stiff challenge, but she came undone as Surmeneli began connecting her vicious hooks and body punches. Borgohain was particularly punished in the third round, when he suffered two standing eight counts.
Borgohain, who began her career as a Muay Thai practitioner, is the third Indian boxer to finish on the podium in the showcase, following Vijender Singh (2008) and MC Mary Kom (2012). Hers is also India’s first Olympic medal in boxing in nine years.
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Surmeneli, who is also 23, has won two gold medals this year at the international level. The former middleweight (75kg) boxer claims to have promised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan an Olympic medal in 2015.
Borgohain is also no beginner, having won two world championship bronze medals in her career.