Five-time world champion Mary Kom tried her best, but it was not good enough against two-time world champion Ren Cancan of China, in the semifinals of the women's 51 kg section, in the Asian Games on Wednesday.

However, India had a lot to cheer about as Vijender Singh, Dinesh Kumar, Vikas Krishan, Santhosh Kumar and Manpreet Singh made the finals, even though Asian champion Suranjoy Singh's loss in the semifinals was tough to digest for the Indian camp. India had won two bronze medals in the last edition.

Moving from the 48 kg to the higher weight category was not easy for Mary Kom on the first attempt, and she could feel the weight of the punches thrown by her opponent in the 7-11 defeat.

In what was deemed the mother of all battles in the day's programme, the clash of the two world champions did not produce the expected sparks, except for a smart fight-back, albeit briefly, in the third round by the 27-year-old Mary Kom, as she struck parity at 4-4. However, the 22-year-old Chinese had the punches to be comfortably ahead thereafter.

Lot to learn

“I did research, saw her videos and found that she had good tactics. I have to learn a lot from her,” said Ren Cancan, who will meet the world championship silver medallist Annie Albania of Philippines in the final.

The brave effort of Mary Kom apart, women's boxing was a disappointment for the Indian camp as Kavita Goyat lost to world championship silver medallist Li Jinzi of China 1-5, to end up with a bronze medal.

It was impressive that the Indian men made the finals of five of the ten weight categories, collecting bronze medals from two other bouts.

Vijender Singh, the world championship and Olympic medallist, started hesitantly against Mohammad Sattarpour of Iran.

He trailed 1-2 at the end of the first round and just about managed to take the lead for the first time at 5-4 towards the end of the second round in the 75 kg bout.

In the third round, Vijender broke through the defence of his opponent with a flurry of punches to cruise into the final 10-7. The world No.1 will be challenged by his nemesis, Abos Atoev of Uzbekistan.

Vikas Krishan was the first to breathe some life into the Indian camp in the packed day's program, as he beat Hurshid Tojibaev of Uzbekistan 7-0 in the 60 kg section. He will face Hu Qing of China in the final.

Dinesh Kumar continued the good work with a 7-1 victory over Deepak Maharjan of Nepal in the 81 kg class. He will now face another Chinese, Meng Faniong. The first session ended with Paramjeet Samota, the Commonwealth Games gold medallist, losing the super heavyweight semifinal to Olympic silver medallist Zhang Zhilei of China.

The referee stopped the contest after giving the third standing count to the Indian boxer in the third round. Zhang Zhilei was too good and led 15-3 at that stage.

Good finish

After Mary Kom's loss in the first bout of the evening session, there was a flourishing finish as Santhosh Kumar beat Wuttichai Masuk of Thailand 5-1 in the 64 kg section, to set up a title clash with Sanjarbek Rahmanov of Uzbekistan. Manpreet Singh outclassed Jakhon Qurbonov of Tajkistan 10-2 in the 91 kg section.

Suranjoy Singh was exceptional in fighting back to 5-5 in the second round against Chinese boxer Chang Yong after trailing 0-3 in the first, but he failed to show the same urgency in the third round that proved decisive.

The Cuban coach of the Indian team B.I. Fernandez was thoroughly disappointed and did not turn up for the Indian bouts as the ‘second' along with national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu, except for the bout featuring Vijender Singh.

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