Having already achieved the distinction of being the most successful pugilist of the championship, India's M C Mary Kom is two bouts away from creating history to claim the sixth gold in the Women’s World Boxing Championships.
On Thursday, all eyes will be on the 35-year-old when she enters the ring at the K D Jhadav Hall in the Indira Gandhi International Airport for her semi-final bout against North Korean Kim Hyang Mi.
In fact, the hosts cannot get a better chance than this one in home conditions as four of their pugilists have entered the medal rounds. But a lot depends on Mary Kom, to give the kind of start like she did on Tuesday for her young team mates.
Mary Kom had beaten Kim in her last meeting in the Asian Championships but the Manipuri boxer is not talking about that win. Like she said after the quarter-final victory over Chinese Wu Yu, all bouts in the world championships are tough. But what weighs things in her favour is her sheer experience.
“I am confident. I also know when to drop guard and when to attack. I have worked with the coaches and have a plan in place to counter her,” Mary said about tomorrow’s semi-final, after a strenuous practice session Wednesday.
The North Korean’s USP is her aggression and quick movement as one witnessed on Tuesday when she pummeled her South Korean opponent, Chorong Bak, who was a favourite before the quarter-finals.
Apart from Mary Kom, the spotlight will also be on Lovlina Borgohain’s performance as India will hope the young pugilist progresses into the next round.
The welter category (69 kg) boxer had done extremely well throughout the championships and was particularly good against Australia’s Kaye Frances Scott, a CWG bronze medal winner, in the quarter-finals.
The Assamese boxer gets her chance to avenge her only loss to the Chinese Taipei opponent, Chen Nien-Chin. But Lovlina feels she has matured as a boxer and can think on her feet now. “I was inexperienced last time when I took her on. But I now know how to tackle her. I did watch some of the video clips to know her style of boxing,” said the 21-year-old who has displayed a perfect mix of caution with aggression so far.
The two other Indians in the fray, Sonia (57 kg) and Simranjit Kaur (64 kg) have their semi-finals on Friday.
Both Sonia and Simranjit said they were prepared for Friday’s bout.
“I have beaten my North Korean opponent (Jo Son Hwa) once before. But both of us know about each other’s style, but I am confident of winning because I have worked with the coaches on strategies,” said Sonia.
As for Simranjit, she said she was equally prepared, before she went for the practice. “I have worked hard and am prepared well for my bout,” she said.
In Thursday’s semi-finals, bouts in five weight categories (48, 54, 60, 69, 81) will take place while the remaining five are slated for Friday.
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