New Delhi: The atmosphere at the KD Jadhav Hall was electrifying and so was seasoned M.C Mary Kom’s performance in the final of the Aiba Women’s World Boxing Championship here on Saturday. It was a mix of vast experience and technical approach that Mary used to massacre Ukraine’s Hanna Okhota in the light flyweight (48kg) class with a unanimous decision to become the first woman pugilist to clinch six world titles.
The light flyweight boxer had previously clinched the gold medal on five occasions 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 besides bagging a silver medal on her debut in 2001.
With this gold, the 35-year-old Manipuri also matched Cuban men’s legend Felix Savon as the joint most successful boxer (men and women) in the world championships history. She had also beaten Ireland’s Katie Taylor (five gold and a bronze) on the number of medals won by a woman.
At the jam-packed stadium, emotions flowed as Mary exited the ring with teary eyes after her bout but the luck evaded Sonia Chahal as she went down fighting in the featherweight final with a split decision (1:4) to Germany’s Ornella Gabriele Wahner.
“I am a little bit emotional today. I cannot thank enough to all those who have come here to cheer me and those who prayed for me. I am indebted to them,” said the mother of three children.
It was the biggest test for Mary Kom but she got off the block soon with quick right hook and kept on attacking from right. The Ukrainian answered back with distant blows but failed to match Mary’s speed. Later they traded a flurry of blows but soon Mary regrouped to punch her right and left while Okhota was stand still.
In the second round, Mary displayed a speedy footwork and waited for the right opening to land on point areas. She started making distance and was mostly attacking from right with lethal hooks. Okhota countered with left but was not enough to stop the five-time world champion.
The last round was a action-packed with Mary landing jabs from left and right straight on Okhuta’s face. Both showed aggression as the fight intensified. The Indian moved around the ring and kept a low guard. Tayler landed a left hook and then reached from right but failed to touch the super fast Indian. Mary waited as the bout near the end and landed fiery blows to impress the judges. The scoreline read 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 in Mary’s favour, who had beaten the opponent in a tournament, in Poland, earlier this year.
Silver for Sonia
Haryana girl Sonia, who outpunched her namesake and senior Sonia Lather to seal her first Worlds berth, justified her selection as she settles for silver. Sonia got off to impressive start but her German opponent bounced back strongly to outwit her 29-28, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28, 29-28 in an action-packed bout. “I did my best but it was not enough. My opponent was better on the day. I am happy to win a silver in my first World Championships,” said Sonia, who started playing in senor circuit just two years back. “I will analyse my weaknesses and work hard for the 2020 Olympics,” she concluded. The hosts ended with a gold, a silver and two bronze medals from the 10th edition of the event.