London Olympics: Mary Kom enters quarter-finals of women’s 51 kg boxing

first_imgWomen’s boxing made a dramatic debut at the Olympics with Indian supermom M C Mary Kom intelligently outpunching Poland’s Karolina Michalczuk 19:14 to enter the quarter-finals of the 51kg category on Sunday.The packed Excel Arena was full of expectation as five-time world champion Mary Kom entered the ring against the physically stronger Karolina.There were whispers in the gallery if Mary Kom, who had to shift to a heigher weight category because of compulsions would be able to pull it off.Having trained away from the national men campers at home and chosen professional coach Charles Atkinson to help her out, Mary Kom was confidence personified.The taller Karolina could have been intimidating for any other opponent but not the seasoned Mary Kom.The exchanges in the first round were even, and it had the Indian crowds guessing as to what was in store.But once into the second round, Mary Kom looked comfortable, as she showed good strategy and superior footwork.If you had taken a look at the Indian’s stance on Sunday and her approach, you may have got confused she is a left-hander.But that seemed part of her strategy as she used the left glove to punch well and not get flustered by the aggression of her Polish opponent.There were patches when Karolina looked in a rampaging mood but her aggressive body language was not complemented by her punching because of an inferior technique.And once into the decider, Mary Kom had opened up a comfortable lead to walk away a 19:14  winner.advertisementAs five-time world champion, Mary Kom has accorded high priority to the Olympics where women’s boxing made its debut. If not, she may have chosen to hang up her gloves and stay back at home with her two kids.”It’s an emotional day for me as it’s my son’s fifth birthday. I cannot be there to celebrate because I am fighting in the ring. I am looking forward to being with him, but this is important,” said Mary Kom later.Asked to comment on her opponent, the Manipuri boxer said: “The Polish girl is very strong, but she is a little bit weak technically. If she was good technically none could beat her. I beat her because of my experience. I can move back and slip a little bit.”Mary Kom says being at “the Olympics are very special.””Every athlete works to play at the Olympic Games. This is my 12th year of fighting and I came out of retirement and changed my weight because I had to play at the Olympic Games. Luckily I qualified and today I won,” she said.Indian coach GS Sandhu said: “It is a very big day for Indian boxing. She boxed intelligently with good footwork and was scoring and moving.”Sandhu was appreciative of Mary Kom’s win emphatically, “I think she demonstrated all the moves and this is a very big lift for her and women’s boxing.”Explaining the weight change for Mary Kom, coach Sandhu was frank. “Changing weight was the only way she could get a chance (at the Olympics). She is still more like 48kg (light flyweight). I think they should not cut down the number of men’s weights but add more for women,” is his view.Karolina could not hide her disappointment after the defeat. “I would probably change the referee. I don’t feel beaten. I don’t feel like I lost and it was unfair,” she said.last_img