New Delhi: M.C. Mary Kom made a triumphant comeback to the ring, taking her fifth gold medal at the Asian Women’s Boxing Championships in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, dedicating Wednesday’s win to those who believed in her abilities after many had written her off.
The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, who defeated North Korea’s Kim Hyang Mi in a unanimous 5-0 verdict in the 48 kilo category, said she was “really happy” at the way the championship had panned out.
It was Mary’s first international gold since the 2014 Asian Games and her first medal in over a year.
World championship silver medallist Sonia Lather (57kg) claimed silver, up finishing second best for the second time at this event as she down to China’s Yin Junhua in a split verdict.
India finished the tournament with one gold, one silver and five bronze medals, having claimed six medals at the previous edition of championship in 2015 but no golds.
Mary, a five-time world champion, was left heartbroken after she failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics, throwing her future in doubt.
The mother of three was dubbed “Magnificent Mary” after she won her fifth world championship title in 2010.
It was the Manipur-born boxer’s fifth gold (after 2003, 2005, 2010 and 2012) in six final appearances in the continental showpiece event.
“I am really happy the way this championship has panned out. I would like to dedicate this victory to all those who have supported me even though the world had written me off. I would like to thank my coaching staff who worked hard with me over the last few months,” the 34-year-old said.
Mary was up against an aggressive opponent in the final. Both boxers tried to control the flow of action from the opening bell, matching each other in speed and precision, but Mary was superior, including better footwork at crucial junctures. What the boxers lacked in power hitting, they compensated with fast-paced punches.