Indian boxing legend Mary Kom defeated New Zealand’s Tasmyn Benny to win her women’s flyweight (48-51kg) round-of-16 bout and book a place in the Asia boxing Olympic qualifiers quarter-finals.
Despite her reach disadvantage to Benny, London 2012 bronze-medallist Mary Kom controlled the bout from start to finish, drawing upon her vast experience to outmanoeuvre and outbox her much-younger challenger.
As Mary Kom’s unanimous victory was announced, the 21-year-old Benny hugged her Indian counterpart in a warm showing of class and sportsmanship.
“She is young, but in another 3-4 years, she might be a very good boxer,” Mary Kom said about Tasmyn Benny during her post-match interview with the Olympic Channel. “Not just because of her height but because of her fighting spirit.”
Mary Kom sets the tone from the outset
That fighting spirit was evident as the first round got underway with the 21-year-old Tasmyn Benny trying to take advantage of her reach with quick left-right combinations.
However, the eight-time world champion was able to dodge most of Benny’s efforts while ensuring she was consistently quick on the counter, swinging back at the Kiwi with a potent right cross.
Although the reigning New Zealand national champion displayed patience, her vast inexperience compared to the Indian boxer was apparent as she was running out of tricks against the 37-year-old.
Mary Kom managed to get in a lovely lead hand shot seconds before the end of the first round, with all five judges scoring Kom a perfect 10.
Tasmyn Benny left to chase
The second round saw Mary Kom improve her ability to dodge Tasmyn Benny’s jabs while delivering on the counter. Supremely adept on her back foot and now seemingly having found her range, the Indian boxer got a few perfectly-placed jabs in.
With the New Zealand corner urging her with chants of “one-two”, Benny did so but as if predicting her every move, Mary Kom was able to evade her in time and start landing body shots with her right hand.
As the second round wound down, it was another dominating 5-0 victory for the boxer from Manipur.
Giving 120 per cent
Tasmyn Benny now needed nothing short of a stoppage victory, but the final round saw Kom in her best form of the evening yet.
In an attempt to defend herself against the Olympic medallist’s counterpunches, Benny focused on her jabs only at the start of the third round but was once again powerless to defend against the Indian boxer.
Making good use of the space of the ring, the Indian pugilist unleashed a forward foray against Benny, landing some highly effective left-right combinations.
While Tasmyn Benny managed to land a few one-twos near the end, most missed their mark by a wide berth.
Mary Kom had completed a comprehensive victory and booked her place in the quarter-final of the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers against Irish Magno on Monday.
About her expectations from her quarter-final bout, Mary Kom simply said with a grin, “I’m trying my best and giving 120 per cent!”
When and where to watch the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers
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