“Before the match I emphasized on not stressing too much. Stress never does any good. I have lost to her four times, so I wanted to prove to myself that I could beat her.
“This (result) was just the hard work I have put in over the past eight years. I just wanted to bring that out in the ring,” Lovlina said.
“There was a bit of grudge (for sure). I was just looking for revenge. I had been planning how to beat her (Chen). I enjoyed myself in the bout, khul ke khela (I played without any inhibition). I knew her style of play from before.”
For Lovlina, being fearless was key. “Earlier, I used to be scared a lot in the beginning. That fear was persistent for a very long time. Slowly through experience, it has diminished. Today, before the match, I reminded myself that I am a lion. The rest followed.”
Lovlina is a fan of Muhammad Ali and Mary Kom. In the ring on Friday, she was quite fleet-footed and dodged several aggressive moves from her opponent. “I follow his (Ali’s) footwork and long punches. I see his videos. I saw his video before the quarterfinal bout. No two boxers can be the same, but I like his style,” she said.
“Growing up, I took to boxing after seeing Marydi. I have watched her win and bring laurels to the country. She has always been an inspiration. She trains with us and I have learnt a lot from her.”
Next she will take on reigning world champion and top seed Busenaz Surmeneli of Turkey in the semifinal. Does the Indian have any special strategy for the Turkish girl?
“I have a few days, I will see her videos and figure out what to do with her,” she said.
The first round of the fight against Chen was a close 3-2 split decision in Lovlina’s favour. It meant that she only had a slight advantage. Raffaele Bergamasco, Indian women boxing’s high-performance director, disclosed how he and chief national women’s coach Mohammed Ali Qamar came up with a strategy for the rest of the bout that worked wonders.
“I advised her (Lovlina) not to work at short distances, but to box from long distance and focus on counter-attacks. Coming close was giving her opponent the advantage. The strategy worked very well and she was good at executing it,” Bergamasco said.
On the tactics part, Qamar added, “Lovlina stuck to the plan of counter-attacking and taking advantage of her height. She had tried being aggressive with this girl in previous bouts but lost. So this time, we told her ‘aap khade raho, usko aane do (let her come to you). And what a cool mind she displayed, never got excited. Never tried to barge in. She executed the plan to perfection.”