Tokyo:- India’s six-time world champion and London Olympic bronze medallist MC Mary Kom started her Tokyo Olympics boxing campaign on a winning as she moved into the Round of 16 in women’s flyweight (51kg) with a convincing 4-1 win on points against Miguelina Hernandez Garcia of Dominican Republic on Sunday.
Four of the five judges voted in Mary Kom’s favour. The bout was eventually scored 30-27, 28-29, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28 by the five-member judges’ panel.
Mary Kom, the 38-year-old from Imphal, started aggressively and unleashed a flurry of punches as she dominated the first round. Mary Kom started cautiously but launched aggressive attacks as her opponent kept a loose guard, giving the Indian a good opportunity to use her jab to telling effect. The Indian legend won the round 48-47.
Miguelina, bronze medallist at the 2019 Pan American Games, came out with more intent in the second round and successfully connected some scoring punches. Mary Kom used the right hook-left cross combination to score points and won that round too.
With two judges giving Mary Kom, a mother of three,10 points each, the Indian legend, who was awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the government last year, narrowly won this round too, 48-47.
Both boxers tried their best in the third and final round. Miguelina attacked a lot but could not breach Mary’s strong defence. The Indian counter-attacked whenever she got the opportunity and that had all the judges giving the Indian star a perfect 10 — the round going 50-45 in her favour.
This was a great start for the Indian boxer who will face third seed Ingrit Valencia, the Rio Olympics bronze medallist, from Colombia in the round of 16 on Thursday.
Mary had failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Her preparations for the Tokyo Olympics were not perfect as in November 2020, she contracted dengue, and though the fever subsided in a week, it took her two months to get back to full fitness.
She started training at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, with the Sports Authority of India making special arrangements for her and her coach.
Before the Olympics, she had plans to train with her personal coach Chhote Lal Yadav in Pune but decided to join the rest of the boxing squad in Italy for a camp instead.