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New Delhi, November 22

Mary Kom is one win away from winning a historic sixth gold in the Women’s World Championships after she beat North Korea’s Kim Hyang Mi to enter the 48kg final.

Mary and Ireland’s Katie Taylor have won five gold each in boxing’s showpiece event. Mary won gold medals at the World Championships in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010, apart from silver in 2001.

Mary, who beat Kim in the Asian Championships final last year, had to fight it out today as well as the North Korean proved to be her toughest opponent so far. Kim used her height advantage to catch Mary with her left hooks, and Mary’s counter-attacking strategy was not working. This rattled the Indian coaches. 

But a slight shift in strategy in the second round brought the 35-year-old Manipuri back to the fore — she attacked more, giving herself more breathing space to hit Kim with her combination blows. Mary also managed to avoid getting into Kim’s hitting zone. When she was declared a 5-0 winner, it surprised the Indian coaches, who thought it was a narrower 3-2 victory for Mary.

“Mary couldn’t get into the game in the first round as Kim was aggressive as she had a longer reach,” said Chhote Lal Yadav, Mary’s personal coach. “It got a bit easier in the second and third rounds when Mary started to attack more. But her defensive work won her the bout today.”

However, Mary said she won easily. “I beat her one-sided. I didn’t allow her to touch me,” she said.  Mary will face Ukraine’s Hanna Okhota, another familiar opponent, in the final. “I will study (her) the same way as students revise their chapters before exams,” Mary said. “Hopefully, I will make our country and the wonderful fans proud.”

Lovlina’s bronze

Lovlina Borgohain had to settle for bronze after she lost to Chinese Taipei’s Chen Nien Chin on points in the 69kg semifinals. Lovlina didn’t start well, getting caught a number of times by Chen’s powerful left punch. After failing behind in the first round, Lovlina gave it her all but Chen’s technical skills and better counterattacking play won her the day.

“I’m disappointed I will not fight in the final but I gave it all today. But there are a lot of positives for me to take from this tournament,” she said.

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