For Mary, the first-round win in the 51kg category against Miguelina Hernandez of Dominican Republic was just the beginning of her pursuit for another Olympic medal. Magnificent Mary, as she is addressed as by her numerous fans across the world, had won bronze at the 2012 London Olympics.
“I am just getting started,” were the first words of the six-time world champion after defeating her opponent, 15 years younger .
“I have all the medals in my hand. Olympic medal (bronze) from 2012, Commonwealth Games gold, six-time gold at World Championships. It’s not easy to count them, but the difficult part is continuously winning and performing,” she said. “What is left is the Olympic gold medal. That is driving me and pushing me to carry on. I am trying my best. If I am able to get it then I will be so grateful, but if not then I will still be happy for all the medals I have won.”
Round of 32…#Cheer4India https://t.co/iMMS6OxYzM
— M C Mary Kom OLY (@MangteC) 1627208076000
The win came via a 4-1 split decision, taking Mary to the pre-quarters where she will face 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medallist and third seed Ingrit Valencia of Colombia. Mary has beaten the Colombian both times the two have faced, including the 2019 World Championships quarterfinals.
Mary started the bout against Hernandez with caution and held back for a while to get a good measure of her rival. The youngster had the stomach for a fight, but was not able to land her punches cleanly.
Towards the end of the first round, Mary unleashed a combination of punches and hooks to earn some vital points. Three judges gave Mary 10 points and two judges recorded 9 for her show in the first round.
Experience triumphing over youth! 🙌38-year-old MC Mary Kom defeated her opponent 15 years younger than her, displ… https://t.co/LL9X7gQ0hi
— #Tokyo2020 for India (@Tokyo2020hi) 1627214400000
The Indian boxer brought her vast experience in play during the second round. She defended well and got points for that too. Hernandez upped the ante at the fag end of Round 2 and landed some punches, but couldn’t prevent Mary from garnering three 10s.
With the match slightly in the balance, Mary went all out in the third and final round. As the bell rang to mark the start of the round, the 38-year-old unleashed a flurry of punches, jabs and cuts. Mary was so aggressive in the final round that, at one point, it looked like she would soon land a knockout blow. The Indian cornered Hernandez and landed four-five clean combinations on her opponent. The final round was a lopsided affair, as Mary impressed the five judges and earned 10 points from all of them.
Manish Kaushik went down fighting to Great Britain’s Luke McCormack in a 63kg first-round encounter. Making his Olympic debut, Manish fought gallantly but lost an edge-of-the-seat clash 1-4 through split decision.
The opening round was fought on an even keel with Manish giving back as good as he got. But, three judges voted in favour of the Briton and the round was awarded 3-2 to McCormack. In the second round, it was Manish’ turn to impress three judges. The final round was another tight one with both boxers going all out. It seemed that Manish had taken control, but according to the judges it was McCormack who had connected the cleaner punches. Ultimately, all five judges ruled in favour of McCormack.