Merry Kom!

Dubai, May 27

Six-time world champion MC Mary Kom (51kg) and Sakshi (54kg) stormed into the Asian Boxing Championships finals after notching up gruelling victories in their last-four stage bouts here today.

While Mary Kom prevailed 4-1 over Mongolia’s Lutsaikhan Altantsetseg, two-time youth world champion Sakshi upstaged top seed Dina Zholaman of Kazakhstan 3-2.

However, Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Monika (48kg) and debutant Jasmine (57kg) settled for bronze medals after losing 5-0 to Kazakhstan boxers in their semifinal bouts.

Simranjit, who recently recovered from Covid-19, lost to Rimma Volossenko, Monika went down to second seed Alua Balkibekova and Jasmine was bested by Vladislava Kukhta.

Humid weather

Top seed Mary Kom dug from her huge reservoir of experience to outwit the sprightly Altantsetseg. “It has taken a lot to adjust to the humid weather here,” Mary Kom said. “Today, I was a bit slow in the first round but got my rhythm from the second round onwards. I had already fought her once so it didn’t take much to understand her gameplan,” she added.

The veteran’s right hooks were particularly impressive in a compelling performance. She fought with a perilously low guard despite the aggressive intent shown by her rival and relied on her sharp reflexes to score on counterattacks. “The guard wasn’t needed, I knew her quite well,” Mary Kom said.

The 38-year-old will be gunning for her sixth gold medal at the continental showpiece. She will be up against Kazakhstan’s Nazym Kyzaibay, a two-time world champion.

“I have faced Nazym earlier and have even defeated her in a couple of past tournaments. Let’s see what’s the challenge I get this time,” said Mary Kom.

Sakshi also endured a tough challenge from Zholaman but came out trumps, riding on her grit. She will face Uzbekistan’s Sitora Shogdarova in the summit clash. — PTI

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