India Open: Mary Kom moves into semis with commanding win

The six-time world champion defeats Mala Rai of Nepal 5-0.

Take that: Mary Kom (left) competes against Mala Rai at the India Open on Tuesday.   -  AP

Six-time world champion Mary Kom gave a commanding performance on her return to 51kg as she defeated Mala Rai of Nepal to reach the semifinals of the 2nd India Open international boxing tournament at the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday.

With a target of competing in the Tokyo Olympics next year, Mary, who had a first round bye, used the opportunity to test herself and boxed for three rounds before recording a 5-0 victory. The 36-year-old displayed her ring craft and mixed her solo punches with combinations to have a feel of her game after switching to a higher weight.

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“I try to learn something from every bout. The main focus is qualification for the Olympics and I am working towards it,” said Mary.

Asked how tough was it fighting without the air-conditioning facility, Mary said, “There may be some technical problem. We must bear with it.”

‘Idol’

The London Olympics bronze medallist will meet Asian championships bronze medallist Nikhat Zareen, who overcame world youth medallist Anamika 5-0, in the semifinals. “Mary did is my idol. I hope it will be the best bout of the event,” said Nikhat.

World youth gold medallist Jyoti Gulia stunned experienced Pinki Rani in 51kg. Two-time World youth champion Nitu looked rusty as she lost to experienced former World champion and current Asian champion Josie Gabuco in 48kg.

Pawan Kumar Narwal outmanoeuvred Youth Olympics champion Brian Agustin Arregui 4-1 in a fabulous 69kg contest.

Against a compact and hard puncher, 21-year-old Narwal relied on his excellent footwork and boxed from long range to land a few lusty head shots. The Indian raised his game in the last two rounds and presented a good blend of his attacking and defensive skills to frustrate the Argentine.

In another bout, Pooja upset Asian champion Pooja Rani 5-0 in the 75kg category.

Important results (Indians unless specified)
  • Quarterfinals
  • Men: 60kg: Ankit bt Ryan Moreno (Phi) 5-0; 64kg: Colin Richarno (Mri) bt Ashish 5-0; 69kg: Pawan Kumar Narwal bt Brian Arregui (Arg) 4-1; Dinesh Dagar bt Marjon Pianar 3-2.
  • Women: 48kg: Josie Gabuco (Phi) bt Nitu 5-0; 51kg: Nikhat Zareen bt Anamika 5-0; Mary Kom bt Mala Rai 5-0; Jyoti bt Pinki Rani 5-0; 57kg: Sonia Chahal bt Sonia Lather 4-1; Manisha Maun bt Sakshi Chaudhary 3-2; 75kg: Pooja bt Pooja Rani 5-0