Indian boxer Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) signed off with a bronze medal in her debut Olympic Games after a comprehensive 0-5 loss to reigning world champion Busenaz Surmeneli, bringing an end to the country's campaign in the sport in Tokyo.
#IND's Lovlina Borgohain wins India's THIRD medal at #Tokyo2020 - and it's a #Bronze in the women's #Boxing welterweight category! #StrongerTogether | #UnitedByEmotion | #Olympics pic.twitter.com/wcX69n3YEe
— #Tokyo2020 for India (@Tokyo2020hi) August 4, 2021
Up against quite literally a bully in the ring, Borgohain was completely out-punched by the gold medal favourite Turkish boxer, who produced a thoroughly dominating performance.
Borgohain, who hails from Assam, also coped with a one-point deduction in the second round for not paying attention to the referee's instructions despite a couple of cautions.
"I don't know what to say. I could not execute what I had planned. I could have done better," Borgohain told PTI after the loss.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others congratulated the boxer on winning a bronze medal and said her tenacity and determination are admirable.
Well fought @LovlinaBorgohai! Her success in the boxing ring inspires several Indians. Her tenacity and determination are admirable. Congratulations to her on winning the Bronze. Best wishes for her future endeavours. #Tokyo2020
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 4, 2021
There is no doubt that the Turkish World Champion Busenaz was a superior boxer. There is also no doubt that @LovlinaBorgohai gave it her all. Congrats on your bronze medal Lovlina. You have so much to be proud of. #Olympics #boxing #IND
— Viren Rasquinha (@virenrasquinha) August 4, 2021
Lovlina, you gave your best punch !🥊
India 🇮🇳 is extremely proud of what you have achieved !
You’ve achieved a 🥉 medal in your first Olympics; the journey has just begun!
Well done @LovlinaBorgohai !#Boxing #Olympics #Tokyo2020 #Cheer4India pic.twitter.com/kIW7qkeze5
— Anurag Thakur (@ianuragthakur) August 4, 2021
The Indian's start was not all that bad as she stood up to the strong challenge but she came undone after Surmeneli got down to connecting her vicious hooks and body shots. The third round was especially punishing for Borgohain, who faced two standing eight counts during the bout.
Surmeneli was unrelenting in all three rounds after being unsettled only slightly in the opening few seconds when Borgohain tried to keep her at long range and struck only counter-attacking straight hits.
The flamboyant Turkish boxer didn't just out-punch her rival after that but also taunted her with some showboating, including dropping her guard to dare the Indian.
Nonetheless, Borgohain goes home a history-maker as the 23-year-old, who started her career as a Muay Thai practitioner, has become only the third Indian boxer to ensure a podium finish at the showpiece after Vijender Singh (2008) and MC Mary Kom (2012). Hers is also the first Olympic medal in Indian boxing in nine years.
— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) August 4, 2021
— Harmanpreet Kaur (@ImHarmanpreet) August 4, 2021
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) August 4, 2021
India is proud of you, @LovlinaBorgohai!! Thank you for bagging the third medal for our country in #TokyoOlympics!🙌🥉
Onwards & upwards from here! Jai Hind!🇮🇳 #Tokyo2020 #Boxing #Olympics #IndiaAtTokyo2020 #LovlinaBorgohain pic.twitter.com/hm1FAqk5xH
— Ishant Sharma (@ImIshant) August 4, 2021
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Surmeneli is also 23 and has collected two gold medals this year internationally. The former middle-weight (75kg) boxer claims to have promised an Olympic medal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan back in 2015 itself.
The Indian men's campaign had ended in the quarterfinal stage after Satish Kumar (+91kg) went down to world champion Bakohodir Jalolov. The other four male boxers bowed out after opening-round defeats.
Among the women, six-time world champion M C Mary Kom (51kg) lost in the pre-quarters, while Poja Rani (75kg) suffered defeat in the quarterfinals.