Six-time World champion M C Mary Kom on Thursday secured an unprecedented eighth medal at the World Women’s Boxing Championship after advancing to (51kg) semifinals of the event at Ulan-Ude in Russia. The pugilist defeated Colombia’s Valencia Victoria via a unanimous 5-0 verdict to reach the final four.
With the win, Mary Kom improved her record as the most successful boxer in the history of the tournament. Before the start of the tournament, she had six gold and silver in her kitty in 48kg category. This is the first time the Manipuri boxer has secured a world medal in the 51kg category. She had finished a quarterfinalist in this division in the past.
Securing her 8th medal, Mary Kom also surpassed Cuban’s Felix Savon, who had seven medals in the tournament and Ireland’s Katie Taylor, who had 6 World medals in her career.
Mary Kom will face second-seeded Turk Busenaz Cakiroglu in the semifinals on Saturday. Cakiroglu, who is currently the reigning European Championships and European Games gold-medallist, went past China’s Cai Zongju in her quarterfinal bout to set herself a clash against the Indian boxer.
In a tactful performance, Mary Kom waited for her chances and defended sharply to ensure that Victoria’s plan to impress the judges by throwing in more punches didn’t yield results. The Indian’s huge reservoir of experience came in handy as she swung her right arm masterfully to connect well-placed hooks. Her straight punches were as effective and regularly pierced through Victoria’s reasonably strong defense.
Mary Kom’s incredible career is also studded with an Olympic bronze medal (2012), five Asian titles, gold medals at the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games, besides numerous other international top finishes. This year alone, she won gold medals at the India Open in Guwahati and President’s Cup in Indonesia. She is also a sitting member of the Rajya Sabha.