Mary Kom sizzles in opener, enters quarter-finals
M C Mary Kom stormed into the quarter-finals of the women's boxing flyweight category (51 kg) at the Olympics, scoring a comfortable 19-14 victory over Poland's Karolina Michalczuk at the ExCel Arena on Sunday.
'Magnificent Mary', a five-time World champion, dominated proceedings from the start and gave a superb exhibition of aggressive boxing to set up a last-eight date with Tunisian pugilist Maroua Rahali.
"It was a good way to start. The whole country was praying for this win. There were lot of people of all religions praying for me and I am happy that I have crossed the first hurdle," said the Indian ace after the victory.
With a huge Indian crowd cheering her, the 29-year-old Mary went into attack mode straightaway and unleashed a flurry of punches. Her Polish opponent though defended well, not allowing her to score many points in the first round, which ended 3-3.
Image: Mary Kom of India celebrates after winning her bout against Karolina Michalczuk of Poland
Photographs: Scott Heavey/Getty Images
Karolina to appeared to run out of steam
In her eagerness to take a decent lead from the first round, Mary tripped and fell, but did not allow the distraction to affect her concentration.
She consolidated her position, taking the second round 5-4, but only after again losing her balance and falling to the canvas.
However, the turning point was the third round, in which she rained blows on her opponent, a world No 5.
A couple of good left-right hooks, with a fantastic left upper cut added in, fetched her seven points to the Polish girl's four from the round.
The lead of 15-10 after the third round proved decisive and the Manipur girl did well enough to hold on to the cushion.
Image: Poland's Karolina Michalczuk, left, and fights India's Mary Kom during the women's flyweight boxing competition
Photographs: Patrick Semansky/AP
India's best medal prospect
Although she looked jaded in the final round, Mary still managed a couple of right hooks to log four points as Karolina to appeared to run out of steam.
Mary got plenty of support from the crowd, mainly the Indians, who kept chanting 'India, India' and 'Mary Kom, Mary Kom'.
"It was tough as it was the first bout of the Olympics. It was the first Olympics for me and it is a very good experience," the Indian added.
Considered one of India's best medal prospects, she now only has a Tunisian between her and a medal.
Image: Poland's Karolina Michalczuk, left, fights India's Mary Kom during the women's flyweight boxing competition
Photographs: Ivan Sekretarev/AP