India have made a resounding start to the Women World Boxing Championships and MC Mary Kom is expected to add more sparkle when she begins her campaign on Sunday.
The five-time world champion and London Olympic bronze medallist got a first round bye and will meet Kazakhstan’s Aigerim Kassenayeva in the 48kg contest.
The ace Indian will be high on confidence, having comprehensively beaten the Kazakh boxer in the final of the Silesian Open in Poland recently.
Mary Kom returned to the ring in June 2017 after a year’s break. Since then she has been mostly competing in light flyweight (48kg) and has rediscovered her form.
This year itself the 35-year-old has collected four medals. She won her maiden Commonwealth Games gold in Gold Coast and the inaugural India Open here. She won silver at the prestigious Strandja Memorial Tournament in Bulgaria besides the gold in the Silesian Open.
The last of Mary’s five world titles came in 2010 in Barbados. However, she had to shift to flyweight (51kg) after the sport was included in the 2012 London Olympics and the weight divisions were reduced, still returning with a bronze medal.
“I am more comfortable in 48kg in which I have always competed. In 48kg I know I can beat anyone. I had to change because it was not an Olympic category, but now I am back in 48kg and eager to win a gold medal in front of home fans,” said Mary Kom, who won gold when the championships was held here in 2006.
Besides Mary, there will be four Indians in action on Sunday. Manisha Maun and Sarita Devi will be featuring in their pre-quarterfinal bouts. Manisha will be up against world champion Dina Zholaman of Kazakhstan in bantamweight (54kg) while Sarita will also face a strong opponent in Ireland’s Kellie Harrington in lightweight (60kg).
Lovlina Borgohain, who got a first round bye, will take on Atheyna Bylon of Panama in welterweight (69kg). Bhagyabati Kachari (81kg) will face German Irina Nicoletta Schonberger.
First Published: Nov 17, 2018 20:17 IST
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