By Prarthana Mitra
Indian boxer and five-time world champion Mary Kom stormed into the 48 kg final on Thursday at AIBA’s Women’s World Boxing Championships 2018 which is currently underway in New Delhi.
Defeating her North Korean opponent Mi Hyang Kim in a unanimous 5-0 decision, the 35-year-old now stands on the cusp of a record sixth world title. After a stellar performance at the semi-final, Kom will look to follow it up with another win against Ukraine’s Hanna Okhota on Saturday.
Kom emerged as the World Champion for the last time in the 2010 edition. Her glorious campaign in the event is bestrewn with a remarkable tally of five gold medals and a silver till date. With her entry into the finals on Thursday, she became the most successful female boxer in the event’s history.
Having already defeated Okhota in Poland earlier this year, Kom said at a press conference that she will read the previous bout and plan her strategy accordingly. And if the Manipuri boxer does win in her seventh final, she will be creating history, joining legendary Cuban boxer Felix Savon as the joint most successful pugilist (men and women) in the World Championships’ history. The Olympic medallist Savon has six WC medals to his credit in heavyweight.
What happened during the match?
The semi-final bout on Thursday began slowly as both boxers cautiously tried to figure out the best defence and countermoves. After an insipid first round, the North Korean threw in a flurry of quick punches as the game became more aggressive. The experienced Indian ducked and resorted to agile foot movement to avoid Kim’s blows, before launching crucial blows herself that helped her register a unanimous victory.
“My opponent was taller than me and strong also. Taller boxers can have the advantage because of their reach, they can get inside immediately and come back again. But once inside the ring, I don’t care whether my opponent is tall or not, I play my game,” she said at a post-match press conference, adding that she hoped Kim learnt from the bout, and that she was glad to make it to the finals.
How did other Indians do at the Championships?
Kom’s compatriot Lovlina Borgohain, however, settled for a bronze after losing her semi-final bout in 69kg on Thursday. Chen Nien-Chin of Taipei, who had won a bronze in the 2016 World Championships in 75 kg, won all the rounds and managed to overpower India’s second semi-finalist of the day.
On Friday, another Indian boxer Sonia Chahal defeated North Korea’s Jo Son Hwa by a unanimous verdict to enter the 57 kg final. Fellow semi-finalist Simranjeet Kaur settled for a bronze against China’s Dou Dan the same day.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius
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