London: M C Mary Kom on Monday created history as she assured India its fourth Olympic medal after winning her quarterfinal boxing bout against Maroua Rahali of Tunisia by 15-6 margin in the women’s 51 kg category in London on Tuesday.
The five-time world champion and the face of women’s boxing in India for the past decade has now been assured of at least a bronze medal in the inaugural edition of women’s boxing in the Games. She will also be the third Indian woman after Karnam Malleswari and Saina Nehwal to win an Olympic medal.
Someone who enjoys iconic status in the North-East India, the performance of the 29-year old Manipuri woman, who is a mother of twin boys, will surely encourage many more from the region to take up the sport.
‘Magnificent Mary’, as she is known in the boxing fraternity, fought in a calculative manner as she used the first round to sort out her Tunisian opponent and then slowly upped the ante in the subsequent three rounds.
The first round was a quiet affair with Mary Kom gaining a slender 2-1 lead. A couple of meaty blows in the second round helped her increase the lead to 5-3.
However, just like Sunday when she launched a furious assault on her Polish opponent Karolina in the third round, Mary employed the same strategy in the third round on Monday.
A couple of right hooks followed by a lethal left hook was enough to soften up the big bodied Tunisian girl who was trying to use her long reach to keep her Indian opponent at bay.
The 11-4 scoreline in the third round was the decisive lead that Mary Kom needed as it is never easy to erase a 7-point deficit without a knock-out.
The last round was all about keeping her cool although Mary at times got tempted to punch her opponent at the back of her head inviting caution from the referee. Still she managed to clinch the round with a 4-2 score and the final margin of 15-6 was certainly a convincing way to get into the semi-final.
For the mother, who missed her twins’ fifth birthday on Sunday, this is supposed to be the most precious birthday gift they received from their mother. Rechungvar and Khupneivarand should not be complaining.