New Delhi: Ace India boxer Mary Kom once again showed why she is one of the best in the continent as the pugilist won the gold medal for the fifth time at the Asian Boxing Championships, on Wednesday.
Mary Kom thumped North Korea’s Hyang Mi Kim in the championship clash, to clinch her maiden gold in the 48 kg category of the tournament. The 35-year-old, who is also a former Olympic bronze-medallist, returned to her preferred weight category after five years of competing in 51 kg, which was made an Olympic category in 2012.
In total, Mary Kom has now won six medals at this prestigious tournament, having won four golds and one silver in the previous editions of the continental championship.
Mary Kom won the bout courtesy of a 5-0 unanimous judges decision in her favour in the final. This is Mary Kom’s first international gold medal since the 2014 Asian Games and her first medal in over a year.
“I am really happy the way this Championship has panned out. I would like to dedicate this victory to all those who have supported me even though the world had written me off. I would like to thank my coaching staff who worked hard with me over the last few months,” Mary Kom said after her win.
“A special word for the professional setup that BFI has put in place, ensuring the best facilities was given during the month-long camp and all the exposure trips for the team. Also, I am thankful to BFI president Mr. Ajay Singh for showing faith in me,” she added.
“Mary Kom’s gold at the Asian Boxing Championship is a huge victory for India’s women power. At 34, this mother of 3 has shown that, with grit and determination, you can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. Mary Kom is a huge inspiration for all Indians and we are proud of her victory today,” Ajay Singh, BFI President, said.
In Hyang Mi, the 35-year-old Mary Kom found her most aggressive opponent so far in the tournament but she was up for the task. Unlike her previous bouts, in which the opening three minutes were invariably spent measuring up the rival, both the boxers were lunging at each other within seconds of the bell going off.
Matched quite evenly in speed and precision, Mary Kom scored for her ringcraft, which included some fine footwork to outpace Hyang Mi at crucial junctures. There was hardly any power-hitting on display but the contest was made engaging by the boxers’ fast-paced exchange of punches.
The North Korean was relentless with her left hooks but the Manipuri did not allow herself to be rattled and scored on counter-attack with her combination blows.