India Open Boxing: Mary Kom advances to quarterfinal

After making it to the quarterfinal of the India Open, Mary Kom made it a point to thank Boxing Federation of India president, Ajay Singh, for organising such an event.

M.C. Mary Kom (in picture) advanced to the quarterfinals after defeating surprise fifth-seed compatriot Varsha Choudhary. (File Photo)   -  Kamal Narang

London Olympics bronze medallist and five time World Champion Mary Kom enlivened the proceedings on the opening day of the Spicejet India Open international boxing championship by recording a convincing 5-0 victory over compatriot Varsha Choudhary in the women’s 48-kg category on Sunday.

More than winning her bout and reaching the quarterfinals in an international competition being held at home after a long time, Mary made it a point to thank the president of the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), Ajay Singh, for taking the initiative to organise such an

Mary said that she would continue to fight as long as she felt like it, and she was not concerned about winning or losing, even though she was very keen to win international medals, and possibly the big ones.

Unwilling to take her supremacy for granted, Mary said that there were good foreign boxers in the field in her weight category to make it interesting for everyone. "Boxing is becoming popular day by day. The youth is doing very well. It is a great initiative for the future, especially before the Commonwealth Games," said Mary, quite pleased with her own ability to fight at the national and international level.

If she stayed healthy, injury-free and had the hunger to compete, Mary said that she would love to compete at least for one or two more years, and take things from there. She said that she was not bothered about what people may be talking about her penchant to fight even after so many years in the ring and felt that people should actually be supporting her, as it was good for a sports person to continue for

Meanwhile, in the men’s 69 kg section, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manoj Kumar moved into the quarterfinals with a robust performance against Kimathi Jacob of Kenya, winning an unanimous 5-0 verdict from the judges.

In the women’s 51 kg category, Meena Kumari beat compatriot Shivinder Kaur to reach the semifinals and ensure a medal. She will fight another Indian Jamuna Boro who had a bye into the semifinals. From the bottom half, Manisha beat Machai Bunyanut of Thailand to set up a semifinal against Bimala Shrestha of Nepal whose fight against Farida Samieva of Tajikistan had to be stopped by the referee.

In the women’s 51 kg section, Nkhat Zareen and Pinki Rani reached the quarterfinals to join Sarjubala Devi and Ritu who had a bye.

Overall, it was an encouraging start for the host as many of the Indian boxers, being fielded in nine teams in all in the men’s and women’s events, progressed.

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