The women’s World cham­pi­onships con­clude in Delhi, writes John Den­nen

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Women’s World cham­pi­onships

WHO is Anna Okhota to stand in the way of his­tory? In the light­fly­weight fi­nal at the World cham­pi­onships on No­vem­ber 24 the Ukrainian was the last ob­sta­cle be­tween In­dian le­gend Mary Kom and an ex­tra­or­di­nary sixth gold medal. In her home coun­try, at the Indira Gandhi Sport Com­plex, Kom would not be de­nied. Her split de­ci­sion vic­tory broke the record she had jointly held with Ire­land’s Katie Tay­lor.

Kom was al­most over­come with emo­tion. “First of all I would like to thank all my fans,” she said. “It was very chal­leng­ing for me as well.

“[Tokyo 2020] is still on my mind. I’m still dream­ing. I have al­ready won a bronze medal in [Lon­don] 2012 but still as an ath­lete, as a boxer, in my dis­ci­pline, I want to win a gold medal for the na­tion… I will try my best.”

Ire­land does have a new light­weight World cham­pion in Kel­lie Har­ring­ton. In her fifth con­sec­u­tive vic­tory of the tour­na­ment Har­ring­ton took a split de­ci­sion win over Thai­land’s Su­pa­porn Srisondee. “It’s al­ways been my dream to be­come a World cham­pion. The sup­port from home has been phe­nom­e­nal as well, I would like to thank ev­ery­one,” Har­ring­ton said.

Welsh mid­dleweight Lau­ren Price was GB’S only medal­list at these World cham­pi­onships. Open­ing her tour­na­ment with unan­i­mous de­ci­sion vic­tory over Ire­land’s Aoife Burke, she took a split ver­dict over Poland’s Elz­bi­eta Wo­j­cik in the quar­ter-fi­nal. “I knew that my op­po­nent would come for­ward, so the plan was to draw her in and use my speed to counter her. The first round was close, but I think I re­ally picked it up in the sec­ond and third and de­served the win,” Price said.

That set up a semi-fi­nal with the Nether­lands’ Nouchka Fon­tijn. The lat­ter is an Olympic sil­ver medal­list and the reign­ing Euro­pean cham­pion. Fon­tijn tow­ered over Price. But the Welsh mid­dleweight put her speed to work. Go­ing on the back foot she made Fon­tin come to her, reach­ing af­ter Price with jabs. It handed Fon­tijn the ini­tia­tive, al­low­ing her to march for­ward. But Lau­ren still sprang for­ward to swing in com­bi­na­tions, fin­ish­ing well in the last round to make it a close con­test. The de­ci­sion was split, but it went to Fon­tijn.

“She had a big ad­van­tage in size and reach, but I think my tac­tics were spot-on and I coun­tered her well. It was a re­ally close bout and I feel I could eas­ily have got the de­ci­sion, but un­for­tu­nately only two of the judges’ saw it my way,” Price said. “It is dis­ap­point­ing to lose when I feel I could have gone all the way in this tour­na­ment, how­ever when I re­flect on things in a few days, I sup­pose I can be happy that I have come away with a medal and es­tab­lished my­self as one of the best in the world.

“It has been a great year for me win­ning Com­mon­wealth gold and then tak­ing bronze at both the Euro­pean and World cham­pi­onships, I just need to make sure I keep up the mo­men­tum next year and con­tinue im­prov­ing as we look to­wards the Olympic qual­i­fiers.”

Eng­land’s mid­dleweight Natasha Gale just missed out on a medal. She took points wins over Kaza­khstan and Italy, Aida Ong­dash and As­sunta Can­fora,

de­feat­ing both by unan­i­mous de­ci­sion. That put her into a quar­ter-fi­nal with China’s Li Qian.

In a close con­test, the heavy shots Natasha landed weren’t enough to force the de­ci­sion her way, with a unan­i­mous ver­dict go­ing to Qian. The Chi­nese boxer would ul­ti­mately win gold, beat­ing Fon­tijn on a split de­ci­sion in the fi­nal.

English wel­ter­weight and sea­soned in­ter­na­tional, Sandy Ryan lost her open­ing con­test to Italy’s An­gela Carini on a split de­ci­sion. “I came here with to­tal be­lief but this wasn’t my time. Box­ing is sub­jec­tive. I know I lost it my­self, on the day it wasn’t my best per­for­mance. Right now I am my own com­pe­ti­tion. I will re­flect what I need to do when I’m back home,” Ryan said.

Welsh 69kgs Rosie Ec­cles has been hav­ing a good year, but she also lost her first con­test in In­dia, with Canada’s Myr­iam da Silva

un­ex­pect­edly edg­ing her out on


a split de­ci­sion. Paige Mur­ney, a Com­mon­wealth sil­ver medal­list like Ec­cles, won her first bout, beat­ing Italy’s Irma Testa on a split de­ci­sion. But Mur­ney lost out in her next bout, with Korea’s Oh Yeon-ji unan­i­mously out­point­ing her. Eng­land new­comer El­lie

Scot­ney did pick up a vic­tory in the World cham­pi­onships but met de­feat in her sec­ond con­test in In­dia. Ar­gentina’s 57kgs Leonela

Sanchez beat Scot­ney on a unan­i­mous points de­ci­sion.

GB fly­weight Ebonie Jones was in good form. She took unan­i­mous points wins over In­done­sia’s Ai­nun

Az­izah and Spain’s An­drea

Lashera. Jones could have gone fur­ther but In­dia’s ex­pe­ri­ence Pinki

Rani blocked her path. Jones ap­plied pres­sure dili­gently but couldn’t per­suade the judges, who awarded a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion to Rani.

“This is a rel­a­tively in­ex­pe­ri­enced group so to come away from a tour­na­ment as tough as the World cham­pi­onships with one medal and been very un­lucky not to win more is a very good per­for­mance,” GB Box­ing’s per­for­mance di­rec­tor, Rob Mc­cracken, said. “Some of the newer mem­bers of the squad have shown real po­ten­tial. They have demon­strated they have what it takes to do well at this level and have per­formed very well, only los­ing in tight de­ci­sions against top level op­po­nents that could have gone ei­ther way. It au­gurs well for the fu­ture and I am con­fi­dent that we have seen enough to be op­ti­mistic of more suc­cess in the fu­ture for our fe­male box­ers.”

In­dia were hard to beat in their home coun­try. Ire­land’s lightwel­ter­weight Amy Broad­hurst was left baf­fled when she had a point de­ducted seem­ingly for land­ing a left hook on Sim­ran­jit

Kaur, the ref­eree claim­ing it was a slap. The In­dian boxer ul­ti­mately re­ceived a split de­ci­sion. “The trip has come to an end. This has been an un­be­liev­able ex­pe­ri­ence but a dis­as­trous ex­pe­ri­ence all rolled into one,” was how Broad­hurst summed it all up. Com­mon­wealth Games sil­ver medal­list, Ire­land’s Michaela

Walsh also didn’t reach the medal stages, los­ing a split de­ci­sion to Italy Alessia Me­siano. Amy An­drew, a Lon­doner rep­re­sent­ing New Zealand, won her first bout in In­dia, beat­ing Al­ge­ria’s Khe­lif Had­jila. Aus­tralia’s Com­mon­wealth Games cham­pion

Skye Ni­col­son elim­i­nated An­drew in the next stage, tak­ing a split de­ci­sion. An­other 57kgs Lon­doner was also com­pet­ing at the Indira Gandhi Sport Com­plex. Ramla Ali lost a split de­ci­sion to Mo­rocco’s

Doaa Tou­jani but be­came the first boxer ever to rep­re­sent So­ma­lia at a World cham­pi­onships.

Pho­tos: EUBC

LE­GEND: Kom’s tri­umph is rap­tur­ously re­ceived

SHARP SOUTH­PAW: Price looks for Fon­tijn with a straight cross

STAR MADE: Har­ring­ton [right] se­cures gold in the 60kgs nal

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