Mary Kom at the World Championships: all you need to know

A quick guide to what the boxing legend can expect in Russia and where you can watch her bouts.

India’s most decorated boxer MC Mary Kom stands on the cusp of creating history at the 2019 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Russia.

The champion pugilist is looking to become the first ever boxer - female or male - to win seven World Championships titles and will be the focus of attention as India's women’s quest for medals.

The 36-year-old has won all her previous titles in different weight categories; and has never won a gold at the Worlds in her current weight category of 51kg - which will be the lightest category for female pugilists at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

When is Mary Kom fighting first?

The veteran athlete has been granted a first-round bye at the 2019 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships and will be seen in action only on Tuesday (October 8) where she will face Thailand’s Jutamas Jitpong.

The 21-year-old boxer bagged a 4-1 victory in her first round over Germany's Nimani Azize and is not to be underestimated.

The Thai was professional until last year and boasts a 5-2 record as a pro.

What is her route to the final like?

If she wins her first bout, the Indian could end up facing Bulgarian Gabriela Dimitrova who is the eighth-ranked boxer at the tournament in the 51kg weight category or Colombian Ingrit Valencia.

The South American won a bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games and completely outplayed her opponent in Russia; and would be a formidable opponent for the Indian.

Rio 2016 bronze medallist Ingrit Valencia could be a potential opponent for Mary Kom in Russia.
Rio 2016 bronze medallist Ingrit Valencia could be a potential opponent for Mary Kom in Russia.Rio 2016 bronze medallist Ingrit Valencia could be a potential opponent for Mary Kom in Russia.

Like the Colombian, Dimitrova was also thoroughly dominant in her opening round, beating England’s Tori-Ellis Willetts through a unanimous 5-0 margin. She has performed admirably at several European competitions in the last couple of seasons and could prove to be a tough nut to crack for Mary Kom.

Semifinal challenge

Post that tie, the Indian will have to prepare for feisty bouts as the competition reaches the semifinals stage. The 36-year-old would likely be paired against either Turkey’s Buse naz Cakiroglu or Uzbekistan’s Tursunov Rakhimova.

The Uzbeki boxer caused one of the first major upsets of the Worlds as she beat seventh seed Yassmine Mouttaki with a unanimous 5-0 win and will be optimistic of continuing that fine run as the tournament progresses.

On the other hand, Cakiroglu is the second-seeded athlete in the weight category and has been in a splendid form, winning the gold medal at the 2019 European Games a few months ago.

How can I watch it?

While there will be no direct telecast of the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships on Indian television channels, the bouts of Mary Kom and all the other Indian pugilists will be streamed on the official YouTube channel.

You can catch Mary Kom’s first round on the evening of Tuesday, October 8. Kom, who is seeded three, is scheduled to be the first into Ring A at 1800 local time, 1530 IST.

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