Years of ring time over the past one-and-a-half decades came to Mary Kom's aid as she who outwitted North Korea's Hyang Mi Kim, with a 5-0 verdict and inched closer to her sixth Women's World Boxing Championship title on Thursday.
However, Lovlina Borgohain, the other Indian in action, lost her 69kg semifinal bout 4-0 to Chinese Taipei's Nien-Chin Chen and settled for the bronze medal at the Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex here.
In a 48kg semifinal contest, Mary showed how a cocktail of experience and smartness can turn things around. Even as the taller and stronger Hyang, who came here wiser after her loss to Mary in the Asian championships final in Ho Chi Minh City last year, launched an early attack, the Indian looked to avoid the blows.
The strong-willed five-time World champion reworked her strategy to snap the Korean's rhythm and wrest control in the last two rounds. Ducking, bobbing and being more active on her feet, Mary minimised the damage and delivered some quick left jabs, followed by right blows, to impress the judges.
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Mary will be pleased to meet Hanna Okhota in the title clash as the Indian had defeated the Ukrainian in the semifinals of the Silesian event in Poland in September.
"It was a one-sided bout in the Asian Championships. But every boxer learns something and I think she has learnt (from that bout). I have also learnt a few things and was prepared to defend and counter. I am happy to be in the final," said Mary.
Lovlina was on the back foot as the strongly-built Nien-Chin, who had claimed a 75kg bronze medal in the last Worlds event, attacked early with some solid punches.
The Indian changed her plan to unleash sudden bursts of blows, but the Taipei boxer was smart to keep herself safe.
Lovlina's prospects were further damaged when she got a warning, resulting in the deduction of a point in each round, for hitting the back of Nien-Chen's head in the third and final round.
“I gave my 100 per cent against a tough opponent. After missing out on a Commonwealth Games medal, I was aiming for the gold here. However, I have to take the bronze,” said Lovlina.
Two other Indians, Sonia Chahal (57kg) and Simranjit Kaur (64kg), will be seen in action in the semifinals on Friday.