Six-time champion M C Mary Kom (51kg) on Thursday surpassed herself as the most successful boxer in the history of the Women’s World Championship, securing an unprecedented eighth medal by advancing to the semifinals here. The third-seeded Mary Kom defeated a spirited rival in Colombia’s Valencia Victoria, fetching a unanimous 5-0 verdict to make the last-four stage.
“I am very happy to have secured a medal but I would be looking to make it better by reaching the finals,” the 36-year-old star said after the bout. “It was a good bout for me and I will now try to improve on this performance in the semifinals,” she added. Awaiting her in the semifinals on Saturday, after a rest day on Friday, is second-seeded Turk Busenaz Cakiroglu, who is the reigning European Championships and European Games gold-medallist. Cakiroglu defeated China’s Cai Zongju in her quarterfinal bout.
In a tactful performance, Mary Kom waited for her chances and defended sharply to ensure that Victoria’s plan to impress the judges by throwing in more punches didn’t yield results. The Indian’s huge reservoir of experience came in handy as she swung her right arm masterfully to connect well-placed hooks. Her straight punches were as effective and regularly pierced through Victoria’s reasonably strong defence.
With this, Mary Kom bettered her own record as the most successful boxer in the history of the marquee tournament. The Manipuri, in terms of number of medals won, is in fact numero uno cutting across both the men’s and women’s competitions. Cuban icon Felix Savon is the most successful in the men’s event with seven medals — six gold and a silver. Entering into this edition, Mary Kom had six gold and a silver in her kitty but this is the first time, she has secured a world medal in the 51kg category. She had finished a quarterfinalist in this division in the past.
The latest achievement has only added to her ever-growing legend. Besides six world titles, Mary Kom’s incredible career is also studded with an Olympic bronze medal (2012), five Asian titles, gold medals at the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games, besides numerous other international top finishes. This year alone, she won gold medals at the India Open in Guwahati and President’s Cup in Indonesia. She is also a member of the Rajya Sabha.