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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Women’s World Boxing Championships: Mary Kom remains on course for sixth title, Lovlina Borgohain loses

Mary Kom remained on course for an unprecedented sixth gold medal by reaching the 48kg final but Lovlina Borgohain had to settle for a bronze after losing her semifinal bout.

other-sports Updated: Nov 22, 2018 20:29 IST
Avishek Roy
Avishek Roy
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Mary Kom of India (in blue) and Kim Hyang Mi of North Korea (in red) compete during their 45-48 kg category semi-final fight.
Mary Kom of India (in blue) and Kim Hyang Mi of North Korea (in red) compete during their 45-48 kg category semi-final fight.(AFP)

Mary Kom knew what to expect from North Korean Kim Hyang Mi, but she was also prepared for the unexpected. At 35, Mary Kom relies on her vast reserves of experience to switch her strategies inside the ring. The legendary Indian on Thursday showcased her strong defensive skills and counter-attacked with vigour to storm into the final of the World Championships, staying on course for her sixth gold medal.

However, it was the end of road for young Lovlina Borgohain who lost to Chinese Taipei’s Nien-Chin Chen in the 69kg category semi-final. In a bout that could have gone either way, Lovlina lost by a split 4-0 decision and had to be content with a bronze medal in her maiden appearance.

Mary had beaten Kim in the final of the Asian Championships last year without much trouble. But on Thursday Kim came all guns blazing right from the start, throwing her combinations with speed.

Mary swerved and evaded to escape Kim’s reach and realised she would have to score on counter-attacks. Her defence was top class as she ducked Kim’s flurry of punches, staying low and finding the openings to land a barrage of her own.

READ:  Mary Kom storms into final, eyes unprecedented 6th gold medal

The first round saw Kim Hyang on an equal footing with Mary but the Indian was in control in second and third rounds. Cheers from the stands got louder and louder as Mary showed her famed prowess in the ring. “Every time you go inside the ring, you have to study your opponent closely. Each time an opponent comes with her own strategy to counter. I had beaten her easily before.

“Today I had to adopt a different strategy. It was about defence and counter. Once I study the opponent in the first round I know how to tackle her. It is a learning process. I have years of experience and still learning every day,” said Mary Kom after the bout.

“My opponent was taller, stronger than me. So it is always tough when you play a taller opponent, because of their reach they have the advantage. But once inside the ring I allow my experience to take over.”

Having already secured her seventh medal at the World Championships, the most in the history of the competition, Mary Kom would be looking to win her sixth gold medal when she faces Ukraine’s Hanna Okhota, who defeated Madoka Wada of Japan by unanimous verdict. At present, Mary and Katie Taylor of Ireland have both five titles each but the Indian will have the opportunity to be in a league of her own on Saturday.

In the second Indian semi-final of the day, Lovlina, who showed great composure in her bouts so far, faced a tricky opponent in Chen who maintained a safe distance and searched for the right opportunity to strike. Lovlina got a warning and lost a point in the third round for hitting opponents’ back of the head.

“I had a strong opponent and I gave my all. I was targeting a gold medal here after not being able to win any medal at the Commonwealth Games. I was well prepared. My class being an Olympic category now each round is tough. This experience will help me as I will prepare for Olympic qualification,” said Lovlina.

First Published: Nov 22, 2018 20:28 IST

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