New Delhi: Asha Roka, 14, powered through to the semifinals of the AIBA Women's Junior World Boxing Championships after defeating Malika Abdi from Algeria in Albena, Bulgaria on Wednesday.
The reigning national champion was the first Indian to make it to the penultimate round of the championship, after seven other Indian boxers including three from the junior group and four from youth section -- secured their place in the quarterfinals of the event.
Roka, a gold medalist at the 2nd Nations Cup, an international boxing tournament in Zrenjanun, Serbia takes on Assyl Askarova from Kazakhstan in the semifinals.
The Algerian boxer threw some good straight punches in the beginning of the bout, but Asha came back strongly giving a good account of her boxing skills to edge past Abdi in a brilliant fashion.
Earlier in the women's Junior World Championship, Gargi (50kg), Likhitha Battini (52kg) and Siwi (60kg) cemented their places in the quarterfinals of the event. All three junior boxers put up a stunning performance to beat their respective opponents.
Gargi, a silver medalist at the 2nd Nations Cup, needed only one round to upstage the lone Maldivian boxer in the competition as she won by a technical knockout (TKO). The 16-year-old plays Ebonie Jones from England in quarter-finals.
Likhitha, too, got rid of Uzbek boxer Azizabonu Mamirova by virtue of a TKO. She will fight against Santiana Meurant of France for a place in the semi-finals.
In the light weight division, Siwi displayed great potential in her first international tournament as she beat Uuriintuya Gantulga of Mongolia in a hard fought contest. The 14-year-old eventually won the bout by a split decision. Her next opponent is Esra Yildiz from Turkey.
Indian women boxers also made headway in the youth group as well.
Reigning junior world champions Lalenkawli (48kg) and Nikhat Zareen (54kg) made it to the quarterfinals after dominating performances in their respective bouts.
Lalenkawli, a feisty and upcoming boxer from Mizoram, took on some solid attacking from Kristina Elizabeth O'Hara from Ireland. But the 18-year-old Indian was up to the task as she soon put O'Hara on the backfoot by her incessant flurry of right and left jabs. She went on claim the quarter-final spot with a win on a unanimous decision.
Zareen also won with a unanimous decision against Romanian Mera Ioana-Lavinia.
Lalenkawli will stake a claim for a semi-final against Venelina Valentinova Poptoleva from Bulgari, while Zareen is up against Italian Desire Galli.
Simranjit Kaur (60kg) and Shashi Kala (64kg) too won their pre-quarter final bouts to march into the round of eight. Kaur now takes on Justine Moerl from Germany while Shashi is slated to fight against Airiken Subinuer of China.