Guwahati: Lovlina Borgohain sealed her spot in the Olympics by beating Uzbekistan’s Maftunakhon Melieva in the quarterfinals of the Asian Olympic qualifiers. She fell in the semi-finals to Gu Hong of China and had to settle for another bronze though but her mission was accomplished.
The first Indian boxer in action in the evening session of the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers was second seed Lovlina Borgohain, who squared off against Uzbekistan’s Maftunakhon Melieva.
The towering Indian welterweight used her height effectively straight from the off, making it difficult for Melieva to get her jabs in on the inside.
The Indian pugilist was using her left lead very well and controlled the first round with straight punches while her opponent looked to close the distance, searching for a few solid connections.
In fairness, Maftunakhon Melieva did find some success but Lovlina Borgohain was clearly on top as the round progressed and even connected with a brutal right cross before the end of it to win it across the board.
Melieva was seen more on the front foot in the second round as she looked to claw her way back into the fight.
However, Lovlina Borgohain looked comfortable fighting on the back foot and got her jabs away frequently while doing so.
Both boxers also looked to clinch a lot in the second round and unload some body shots before breaking away with hard punches to the head.
Lovlina Borgohain did come out better in these exchanges but Maftunakhon Melieva also managed to do some damage with one judge even giving her round two, while the other four ruled in favour of the second seed.
The final round was the reigning World Championships bronze medallist’s most dominant as Lovlina Borgohain started showcasing her swift footwork and continued to connect with right-hand counters and left jabs on the back foot.
Melieva did begin the round with a good tempo but a cluster of punches in the last minute meant that it was all Lovlina Borgohain by the end of it, leading to a unanimous decision win in favour of the Indian.
“I am very happy that I have qualified for the Olympics. I worked very hard to try and qualify, hence I am feeling very happy to have qualified,” Lovlina Borgohain, who will face Hong Gu in the semi-final, told the media.
“My dream for Tokyo 2020 is about to come true and I am confident that I can win India gold for my country,” she asserted.(Source: Olympics.com)
Lovlina was born on 2 October 1997, and hails from the Golaghat district of Assam. Her parents are Tiken and Mamoni Borgohain. Her father Tiken is a small-scale businessman and has had financial struggles to support his daughter’s ambition. Her elder twin sisters Licha and Lima also competed at the national level at kickboxing, but did not pursue it beyond that. Lovlina too started her career as a kickboxer, but switched to boxing later when she found the opportunity to do so. The Sports Authority of India held trials at her high school Barpathar Girls High School, where Lovlina participated. She was noticed and selected by renowned Coach Padum Boro, who began training her in 2012.
She was later coached by Chief Women’s Coach Shiv Singh.
School: Barpathar Girls High School.
Lovlina’s career’s biggest break came when she was selected to participate in the 2018 Commonwealth Games welterweight boxing category. However, her announcement was the subject of controversy after it was found out that she hadn’t received any official intimation about her selection. She found out about her selection after the story broke at a major media outlet. At the Commonwealth Games, she lost to Sandy Ryan from the UK in the quarterfinals. Sandy Ryan eventually went on to win gold in that category.
Lovlina’s selection in the CWG 2018 was attributed to her success at the inaugural India Open – an international boxing championship held in February 2018 – where she won a gold medal in the welterweight category. She had also won the bronze medal at the Asian Boxing Championships in Vietnam in November 2017 and the bronze medal at the President’s Cup held in Astana in June 2017.
Lovlina later won a silver medal at the Ulaanbaatar Cup in Mongolia in June 2018 and a bronze medal at the 13th International Silesian Championship in Poland in September 2018.
2018 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships
She represented India for the first time at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship, held in New Delhi, where she won the bronze medal in the Welterweight(69 kg) category on 23 November 2018.
2019 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships
Borgohain got selected for her second Women’s World Boxing Championships (2019) in Ulan-Ude, Russia, from 3–13 October without trials. She was defeated by China’s Yang Liu in the 69 kg category semi-final by 2-3 and had to settle with the bronze medal.
In 2019, Borgohain signed up with sports management firm Infinity Optimal Solutions (IOS) which will handle her endorsements and commercial interests.
2020 Asia & Oceania Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament
In March 2020, Borgohain secured the Olympic berth in the 69 kg with a 5-0 win over Maftunakhon Melieva of Uzbekistan in the 2020 Asia & Oceania Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament. With this, she has become the first ever sportswoman from Assam to qualify for the Olympics. She lost to the 2018 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships silver-medallist Gu Hong of China in a unanimous 5-0 verdict and signed off with a Bronze medal at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers.
Awards and recognitions
- Arjuna Award, presented by President Ram Nath Kovind virtually for her outstanding performance in boxing.