They're nothing without Mary - Indian's women boxers struggle without Kom

Daniel HICKS
They're nothing without Mary - Indian's women boxers struggle without Kom

Huswatun Hasanah set the Asian Games boxing tournament alight Tuesday, becoming the first Indonesian woman ever to win a medal as India's female fighters struggled without "Magnificent" Mary Kom.

Meanwhile Manny Pacquiao's proud boxing nation, the Philippines, secured their first medal of the men's tournament through flyweight Rogen Ladon.

Indonesia's 20-year-old Hasanah showed a touch of arrogance as she showboated in the second round and edged her lightweight quarter-final by split decision, 3-2, against India's Pavitra, who goes by just a single name.

"I didn't think I could beat her, she is very experienced," Hasanah said of Pavitra, 31, who was in her first Asian Games and succeeding Sarita Devi, who controversially refused her 2014 bronze medal in a judging row, in the 60kg division.

"My strategy was to box to my coach's instructions," she told reporters.

"There were no difficulties and I could tell how she was boxing from the first round."

Indonesia's women's boxing team was only formed in 2006 and they have never won a medal at the Asian Games, until now.

Hasanah's win means she is guaranteed a bronze even if she loses her semi-final against Thailand's Sudaporn Seesondee on Friday.

But India's 2016 World Championships silver medallist Sonia Lather refused to speak to reporters after the crushing disappointment of a unanimous points defeat to tough North Korean Jo Son Hwa in the women's featherweight (57kg) quarter-final.

Filipino Ladon squeaked past awkward Kazakhstani Azat Mahemtov to secure at least a bronze via a 3-2 split decision in a battle of southpaw flyweights.

Ladon had arrested a major Philippines meltdown on Sunday when he became the first fighter to reach the last eight after four of his more fancied team-mates lost.

He prevailed even though he reopened an existing cut over his right eye early in the first round.

"The cut? It's OK," he told AFP, despite wearing three butterfly plasters to close the wound.

He will face Thai Yuttapong Tongdee in Friday's semi-final.

"I will listen and follow my coach's instructions for that opponent," Ladon added. "I need to focus more closely on what he tells me."

India were left licking their wounds without all-time great Kom, the flyweight (51kg) gold medallist from four years ago, and former world and Asian champion Devi.

Five-time world champion Kom, the subject of the Bollywood biopic "Magnificent", has skipped the Asiad to concentrate on winning a sixth world title on home soil in Delhi in November.

- Wild celebrations -

India have just one women's fighter left standing, flyweight Sarjubala Devi, who will try to avoid a medal wipeout when she fights China's Chang Yuan on Wednesday for a place in the semi-finals.

Hasanah's win was agreeted by wild scenes of celebration at the Jakarta International Expo among home supporters who had roared their delight every time the youngster landed a punch.

Hasanah thanked the fans and said they had given her a huge boost. "They gave me the spirit (to win)," she told AFP.

It made up for the hosts' disappointment when two Indonesian men missed out on a medal after losing their quarter-finals.

Highly fancied Aldoms Suguro lost a 4-1 flyweight (52kg) split decision to Uzbekistan's Jasurbek Latipov.

And lightweight (60kg) Farrand Papendang was unanimously outpointed by Thailand's Rujakran Juntrong (5-0).

Thailand again showed their strength in depth with a clean sweep of all five men's and women's quarter-finalists on Tuesday winning to the delight of their happy band of colourful and musical supporters.

In addition to Juntrong, Seesondee and Tongdee, welterweight (69kg) Ardee Saylom scored a unanimous points decision over Iran's Sajjad Kazemzadeh while women's featherweight (57kg) Techasuep Nilawan edged a 3-2 split decision over Kazakhstan's Saniya Sultankyzy.