India Open: Mary Kom beats Nikhat Zareen to enter final

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Mary Kom in action against Nikhat Zareen in the semifinal of the Fly (51kg) category.

GUWAHATI, May 23: Six-time world champion Mary Kom overcame some stiff resistance to beat promising Nikhat Zareen in a split decision to enter the women’s 51kg category final, while the men pugilists dominated the ring by making it an all-Indian gold-medal clash in seven categories in the India Open on Thursday.
In the most-anticipated bout of the day, 22-year-old former world junior champion Nikhat of Telangana was at her aggressive best against her ‘idol’ Mary Kom who was happy to play the waiting game before taking the upper hand in the third round to win 4-1.
The 36-year-old Mary Kom, who was making her competitive debut at home in 51kg, took some blows initially but was quick to make amends as Nikhat was not able to connect her punches as the bout progressed.
Using her vast experience, Mary Kom regained her composure and dealt a few telling blows on the Strandja Memorial gold winner Nikhat and that seemed to have clinched the issue in favour of the London Olympics bronze medallist Manipuri in the third round.
Mary Kom will face Vanlal Duati of Mizoram in the gold-medal bout on Friday.
In the men’s section, 17 Indians stormed into the final in 10 weight categories.
Continuing his dream run, former world youth champion Sachin Siwach registered an upset win over reigning Commonwealth Games champion Gaurav Solanki in a unanimous decision to set up a 51kg gold medal clash against Asian Games gold medalist Amit Panghal. (PTI)