China wins Asia Games' 1st women's boxing gold
World champion Ren Cancan won the first women's boxing gold at the Asian Games in an event that will be making its Olympic debut in London in 2012, while the Chinese men lost two of three finals Thursday in a hotly contended competition.
Ren, the women's world champion at 52 kilograms, fell behind Annie Albania of the Philippines in a cautious first round but quickly made up the difference and took the lead 2-1. She widened that to 5-2 in the second and the bout got sloppy as the two tired and moved for clinches in the third.
Albania swung wildly in the final round in a desperate effort to close the gap, and landed some jabs, but Ren hung on and won the bout 7-5.
India's Mary Kom, a five-time world champion at a lower weight, shared the bronze with Aya Shinmoto of Japan.
''Female boxing wasn't in the Asian Games or the Olympics before, so it wasn't so popular,'' Ren said. ''Now people will pay more attention.''
Ren said she expects to defend her status as the the top boxer at her weight in London.
''I believe in myself,'' she said. ''I believe in hard work. And I love the sport.''
Kom, who is known in her home country as ''Magnificent Mary,'' said she struggled in the heavier weight class, and thought she deserved more points in her semifinal loss Wednesday to Ren.
''They weren't giving many points,'' she said of the judges. ''It's the China advantage. But I will work harder and I hope to win in London.''
The remaining women's golds will be awarded on Friday.
Women's boxing was a demonstration sport at the 1904 Olympic Games. Last summer, the IOC Executive Board announced that it would be on the program for London, with medals awarded in three weight classes - flyweight, or under 51 kilograms; lightweight, under 60 kilograms; and middleweight, for boxers under 75 kilograms. Some men's weight divisions have been dropped from the Olympic program to make way.
In the men's 52-kilogram class at Guangzhou, Rey Saludar of the Philippines demolished China's Chang Yong, going up 10-5 in the second round. Though his Chinese rival came back hard, Saludar staggered him in the third round and took the bout 13-11.
Defending Asian Games' champion Hu Qing fell to an upset by India's Krishnan Vikas, who came from behind in the second round and squeezed by to win on points at 5-4. Hu was warned for throwing low punches, and refused to attend the news conference after the bout because he said Vikas tricked the judges.
''It was hard fighting in front of the Chinese fans,'' said Vikas, who was boxing in his first senior international competition. ''But he threw punches below the belt. I'm a boxer, not an actor.''
Uzbekistan's Uktamjon Rahmonov was defeated by Kazakhstan's Serik Sapiev, twice a world and Asian welterweight champion, who took their 69-kilogram division bout with ease at 9-3. Sapiev went ahead in the first round, scoring four points, and held Rahmonov to one point in each round.
In the men's light-heavyweight, or 81-kilogram class, two-time Asian champion Elshod Rasulov of Uzbekistan dominated Dinesh Kumar of India and won on points 10-4.
China came back in the final bout of the day, though over-91-kilogram, or superheavyweight, fighter Ivan Dychko opened a cut over Olympic silver medalist Zhang Zhilei's right eye in the second round. Dychko shook his head and raised his hands in a victory sign after the bout, but Zhang was ruled the winner 7-5.