After Vijender Singh and Mary Kom, India has found its third boxing superstar in Lovlina Borgohain. The 23-year-old pugilist from Assam defeated Nein-Chin Chen in Women's welterweight (64-69kg) in the quarter-finals to assure India of a second medal at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.
Lovlina wrote her name in the history books with the emphatic 4-1 victory over the 4th seeded Chinese Taipei boxer on July 30. The first round was a cagey affair with neither Borgohain nor Chen managing to control the bout. However, the young Indian boxer claimed the first round with a narrow 3-2 victory. In the second round, all five judges unanimously declared Lovlina, the winner. With a solid counter-attacking game and keeping a tight defence in the next two rounds, the first Olympian from Assam secured a 4-1 win to seal her semi-final berth.
Two-times World Championship Bronze-Medallist
Hailing from the Golaghat district of Assam, Lovlina came to the limelight in 2017 when she clinched a bronze medal at the Asian Boxing Championships in the Women's Welterweight category. The boxer's most significant break came when she qualified for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. However, she had to exit from the quarter-final stage, losing to the UK's Sandy Ryan. Lovlina also won a bronze medal at the AIBA Women's World Boxing Championship 2018 and followed it up with yet another bronze in the 2019 World Championship.
In March 2020, the pride of Assam, Lovlina, defeated Uzbekistan's Maftunakhon Melieva in the quarter-final stage of the Asian Olympic qualifiers to become the first Olympian from her state. Later in 2020, Lovlina tested positive for coronavirus and missed the European tour sanctioned by the Sports Authority of India for elite Indian boxers. In 2021, she made a strong comeback, winning the bronze medal at the Asian Championships in Dubai.
One Among The Greats
Now, in her debut Olympic appearance, she has created history. With only the medal colour to be decided, Lovlina Borgohain has well and truly registered her name among the Indian Olympic greats. She will become the third Olympic medal winner in boxing after Vijender Singh and Mary Kom, who clinched a bronze medal each in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, respectively. The 2020 Arjuna awardee will face the reigning world champion Turkey's Busenaz Surmeneli in the crucial semi-final stage.
All she needs to do right now is get inside that ring on August 4 and fight, and India will win its second medal at the Tokyo Olympics. But for the fighter woman she is, Lovlina Borgohain will be aiming much higher than just bronze.