BY THE ASIAN AGE
The fit and agile Mary Kom used her experience and quick reflexes to the fullest to kept her Kazakh opponent on her toes.
New Delhi: It was another fruitful day for the Indian pugilists as four boxers — M.C. Mary Kom, Manisha Moun, Bhagyabati Kachari and Lovlina Borgohain — advanced to the quarter-finals at the Aiba Women’s World Boxing Championship here on Sunday. The only blemish was when L. Sarita Devi lost a close bout in the lightweight (60kg) category.
Five-time world champion Mary Kom’s 12-year wait to play on home soil finally ended as she started her campaign on a winning note, hammering Kazakhstan’s Aigerim Kassenayeva 5:0 to enter the light flyweight quarters.
“Feeling good, the pressure is off. I always enjoyed boxing, it has been my life whether I train or compete in tournaments,” said Mary Kom said after her bout.
“I am happy I lived up to expectations. I got doubly energised because of the support from my fans,” added the mother-of-three.
The fit and agile Mary Kom used her experience and quick reflexes to the fullest to kept her Kazakh opponent on her toes. She was patient and waited for the right openings to clinch crucial points.
In the next round the Manipuri upped the ante and landed a few clean jabs from right and was more aggressive. She was mounting pressure on Kassenayeva although the Kazakh boxer gave a good account of herself against a much superior opponent.
In the last round she started maintaining distance and was more tactical. There were flurry of punches but Mary’s were more on target area.
Meanwhile, Sarita went down fighting to Ireland’s Kellie Harrington, who returned to the Worlds after 12 years, with a split 2:3 verdict in the pre-quarters. Three out of five judges ruled 29-28 in favour of the Irish boxer.
“I thought I got unlucky. Some points did not go my way. But I will continue to box as long as I can,” said the dejected Manipuri.
Moun silences world champ
Young sensation and debutant Manisha Moun extended her dominant form and destroyed world champion and much-experienced Dina Zholaman of Kazakhstan in the 54kg in an unanimous decision to stamp her authority. She is just one win away from a medal.
Manisha’s powerful jabs were too hot for Dina as the Haryana girl was playing with open guard. Dina was much defensive in her approach but Manisha displayed great footwork and a longer reach to land blows on her face in the opening round.
The Haryana girl used her height to good effect and her red jersey matched her red hot form. She was very quick as the Kazakh girl also answered back with stinging blows. It was a action-packed second round but Manisha impressed with her clean punches on the target areas. In the last round the Indian became more attacking and was more tactical as well to outpunch her rival.
“I had beaten her once before (in Poland) and I focused on speed and concentrated on target areas. I did well in the first two rounds but in the third it was more or less even.”
Two other Indians, Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Kachari Bhagyabati (81kg), also made it to the quarterfinals with 5-0 and 4-1 wins on points in their respective pre-quarterfinal bouts.