India’s national hero Mary KOM started-off her Tokyo 2020 campaign by securing a victory against Miguelina Hernandez GARCIA of the Dominican Republic, in the Women’s Fly (48-52kg) round of 32 bout that opened today’s evening session.
The London 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and six-time world champion passed through the bout thanks to a 4:1 split decision, advancing to the round of 16 where she will face #3 seeded Ingrit Lorena VALENCIA VICTORIA of Colombia – the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist – in a high-profile match.
Mary KOM said: “It has been very painful the last couple of years, for everybody because of the pandemic and everything shut down. We are all suffering the same problem and every athlete has to train at home, but for us boxers we need a training partner. I’m so lucky where I live in Delhi that I could set up a little gym with equipment and a bag, but the only thing missing was a sparring partner which is the most important for the eye contact and everything.”
“I have been training hard to make the fitness level and I am still learning the sport. I have a lot of experience, I have been fighting almost 20 years and it is not easy.”
“I have all the medals in my hand. Olympic medal (bronze) from 2012, Commonwealth Games gold, six-time gold at world championships. It’s not easy to count them, but the difficult part is continuously winning and performing, it’s not easy,” she added, commenting on what is driving her on after such a long career.
“What is left that is still not in my hand, that’s the Olympic gold medal,” she continued. “That is what is driving me and pushing me to carry on. I am trying my best, if I am able to get it then I will be so grateful, but if not then I will still be so happy for all the medals I have won in the past.”
Later into the session, Charley-Sian DAVISON of Great Britain smashed Rabab CHEDDAR of Morocco, with a landslide unanimous victory on points. Coming in next, she will face seed #2 CHANG Yuan of the People’s Republic of China, on 29 July.
The British athlete said: “I know a lot of people were watching me as this is such a big event, but I performed well.”
Asked what inspired her to return to boxing after having three children, she said:
“After I had my eldest, I watched the 2012 Olympics on the television. Watching Nicola ADAMS (GBR) and all the rest of them boxing, I always had the bug there and wanted to get back into the gym. That drove me back into it really. A few of my teammates at the club were training, and seeing them on social media really made me want to go back in the gym again.”
DAVIS only rejoined the Great Britain Olympic Programme in 2020. “I didn’t expect to get my shot so soon,” she commented. “I didn’t expect to be in this situation.”
Advancing in the brackets, she could end up meeting mother-of-four Mary KOM, who is in her half of the draw.
“We were taking about that earlier,” said DAVIS. “What a fight that would be, the ‘Battle of the Super Mums’. I’d love that! I know her background, and she is a brilliant athlete who has done so well in the sport. She was the first one to do it as a mum, so I’m basically following on from her.”
In the same division, Japan’s NAMIKI Tsukimi, competing on her home turf against Catherine NANZIRI of Uganda, claimed the victory by unanimous decision, and will meet Graziele SOUSA of Brazil in the round of 16 on 29 July.
USA’s well experience flyweight boxer, 33-year-old Virginia FUCHS, secured a spot in the round of 16 as well, disappointing 26-year-old Svetlana SURUIANOVA (ROC). The American athlete is now up for a match against Bulgaria’s Stoyka Zhelyazkova KRASTEVA, who eliminated NGUYEN Thi Tam of Vietnam on points by split decision.
In the Men’s Light (57-63kg) weight class, seed #4 Elnur ABDURAIMOV of Uzbekistan beat Mongolia’s Chinzorig BAATARSUKH, while Great Britain’s Luke McCormack beat India’s Manish KAUSHIK (both with a split decision), to advance to the round of 16.
Later today, the Refugee Olympic Team made its debut at the Kokugikan Arena, as Wessam SALAMANA met Brazil’s Wanderson DE OLIVEIRA. The 35-year-old athlete – who represented Syria at the 2012 Olympics, and now lives in Germany after taking the difficult decision to flee his country for the safety of his family – did not make it through the round of 32, as his Brazilian opponent nailed the victory by unanimous decision.
Zakir SAFIULLIN of Kazakhstan had the best of Peru’s Leodan PEZO SABOYA, while Japan’s Daisuke NARIMATSU left no chances to Fiston MBAYA MULUMBA of the Democratic Republic of Congo, both winning on points by unanimous decision.
Harry GARSIDE of Australia won the last Men’s Light (57-63kg) bout of the day, eliminating John UME of Papua New Guinea to book a spot in the round of 16 bout against seed #2 Jonas JONAS of Namibia, to be held on 31 July.
Mohammed HOUMRI of Algeria made it through Men’s Light Heavy (75-81kg) round of 32 as he beat Venezuela’s Nalek KORBAJ BARRERA by split decision. He is now up to Arlen LOPEZ of Cuba, seeded #3 here in Tokyo: the two will meet on 28 July.
In the same weight category, Luka PLANTIC of Croatia beat Odai Riyad Adel ALHINDAWI of Jordan at the end of one of the most intense bouts of the day. The two athletes finished the second round tied, and it was only throughout the third round that PLANTIC was able to prevail with a series of furious but precise punches, clinching a narrow victory by a 3:2 split decision to move ahead in the tournament. On 28 July, he will box Rogelio ROMERO TORRES of Mexico.
Uzbekistan’s Dilshod RUZMETOV won the last bout of the day, prevailing on Ireland’s Emmet BRENNAN by unanimous decision.
The Olympic Boxing Tournament will continue tomorrow (26 July) at the Kokugikan Arena with twenty-six bouts in three weight divisions: Men’s Fly (48-52kg), Men’s Middle (69-75kg) and Women’s Feather (54-57kg).
Event schedule and results
Find the event schedule and the results here.
Updated Draw Sheets