There's something about Mary Kom.
The 29-year-old boxer from Manipur comprehensively beat her bigger opponent, Maroua Rahali, on Monday to go through to the semis, where she is assured of a bronze at the very least.
Bronze is great, but the five-time world champion wants to do better than that.
"It feels great to win an Olympic medal for the country. But I want to carry on the momentum to a bigger medal," she said.
Standing at 5'2'', Mary overcame the far better reach of the 5'6'' Tunisian with deft footwork and the guts to absorb one punch in order to deliver a few of her own. The final score: 15-6.
The Indian, a five-time World Champion, put in a dominant performance. But her style Monday was in stark contrast to her performance Sunday, when she beat Karolina Michalczuk of Poland.In the first round, she sized her opponent and relied heavily on defensive tactics. She time and again tried to get inside of her opponent to land a punch but the Tunisian was able to keep her distance. Mary Kom speaks after victory
Both fighters did not throw many punches and the round ended 2-1 in the Indian's favour.
The second round, too, was similar as the diminutive Indian tried to keep away from her taller opponent. Relying on one-off punches, Mary Kom frustrated her opponent with her quick evasive measures.
Fighting conservatively, Mary Kom still was narrowly able to edge out her opponent 3-2.
With only a two-point lead, the Indian put the hammer down as she went for her opponent. Like in her pre-quarters bout, Mary Kom displayed her quick feet and fast hands with a flurry of combination punches. Congratulate Mary
She stepped inside her opponent, who had an advantage of height, and landed some telling blows. With the Tunisian clearly reeling under the pressure of the punches, Mary Kom went for the kill winning the round 6-1.
The fourth was a formality as the Indian conserved her energy and relied on counter-attacks. Her opponent too seemed to be out of energy, not even trying to reduce the seven-point deficit.
In the semi-final, the 29-year-old Indian, famously known as 'Magnificent Mary', faces Great Britain's Nicola Adams, who is seeded second in the tournament.
At the 2012 World Championship, Mary Kom was defeated in the quarter-finals by Nicola.
It hasn't been an easy ride for Mary. She had to move to a higher weight category (from 48kg to 51kg) to play in the Olympics, and she often complains she has had to eat far too much. But she's not too hung up on the hard work she's put in.
"It's easy to put on fat but not hard muscle," she said after the match, smiling her big smile.A mom to five-year-old twin boys, she has also lost out on family time with them. Magnificent Mary
A podium finish should definitely make it all worthwhile.
(With agency inputs).