Tokyo: Satish Kumar, India’s first super heavyweight (+91kg) boxer to compete at the Olympics, eased into the quarter-finals on his debut Games appearance, but MC Mary Kom (51kg) didn’t have luck on her side as she bowed out with a last-16 loss on Thursday.
Satish defeated imposing Jamaican Ricardo Brown in a battle of the debutants, prevailing 4-1, which was a comfortable win for the 32-year-old despite the split verdict. However, Mary Kom ended up on the losing side (2-3) despite winning two of the three rounds against Colombia’s Ingrit Valencia, an old foe she had beaten twice before.
Satish was the first to take the ring among the two Indians and was helped by Brown’s poor footwork throughout the bout though he ended up sustaining two cuts – one on his forehead and the other on his chin.
Satish got cuts because of three head butts. But, it was a very measured performance by Satish. He could have been in trouble had Brown connected better, Indian boxing’s high performance director Santiago Nieva told PTI. Next up for Satish is Uzebkistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov, the reigning world and Asian champion.
Mary Kom took to the ring in the evening session and in a thrilling contest, she was upstaged by Valencia, who rode her luck. A one-point lead taken in the first round was enough for the Colombian to emerge triumphant. I don’t know what happened. In the first round, we were both trying to figure out our strategies. I won the next two rounds, said the perplexed Indian legend after the bout. Mary Kom had tears in her eyes and a wide smile on her face when the referee raised Valencia’s hand at the end of the bout.
There was mutual respect on display though with Mary Kom offering a warm hug to Valencia, who proceeded to raise the Indian’s hand to show her admiration. Despite the heartbreak, Mary Kom said that she has no desire to call it quits just yet.
I can still fight, I am still strong enough. If you have will power, you can fight. Of course, training is important along with discipline. I have been fighting for 20 years, she said.