The Olympic bronze medallist came into the all-important bout, which coincided with her 36th birthday, optimistic of adding to her five world championships titles. She is the mother-of-three and without breaking a sweat she did what no other woman boxer has done or known before.
Moments after Mary Kom became the most successful boxer in the history of women’s world championships by beating Ukraine’s Hanna Okhota in an unanimous 5-0 verdict in the 48kg category summit bout, young Sonia Chahal settled for a silver medal after losing her final.
The feisty Manipuri now has an incredible six gold and one silver in the showpiece, the last yellow metal coming in 2010 in Bridgetown. The results read 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 in favour of Mary Kom who had beaten the opponent in a tournament in Poland this year. Before this World Championships, Mary Kom was tied with Ireland’s Katie Taylor (five gold and a bronze) on the number of medals won by a woman.
With this, ‘Magnificent Mary’ also matched Cuban legend Felix Savon as the joint most successful pugilist (men and women) in the Championships history. The feisty Manipuri, won a silver in the inaugural edition in 2001 and then went on to win a gold each in the next five editions — 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010.
Overwhelmed, Mary Kom broke down after coming out of the ring as she went around to greet the packed crowd and the assembled officials. Wrapped in the tri-colour, she thanked her fans for their “unstinted” support.
India ended the championships with 1 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze — from Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Simranjit Kaur (64kg). India’s best performance ever was the eight medals, including four gold, it won in 2006 in New Delhi.
She thanked the coaches who taught her throughout and the current Indian support staff.
“I dedicate this gold to the nation and my countrymen.”
A packed crowd waited for Mary Kom to come out in the first final of the day. The Indian straightaway went into the ring and had her small prayer in the blue corner. It was a watchful start for both the boxers and the Ukrainian, much younger to the Indian, showed attacking intent and kept coming on Mary Kom. The wily Indian soon began to take control. She stepped back and pounced on her opponent to land some clear punches. The first round clearly belonged to Mary Kom and all the judges gave points in her favour.
The second round was the most closely contested one with Mary Kom going for more attack. Okhota was able to land a few strikes on the Indian. This round also went in favour of Mary Kom, with three judges favouring her and two going for Okhota.
The third round was dominated by Mary as she landed some telling blows on Okhota — a right-handed jab, left-hand combination which rattled the Ukrainian. The crowd went berserk and when the result was announced, the noise reached its crescendo, and Mary Kom bowed to acknowledge.
The AIBA panel which chose the Indian as the best among the competitors was a richly deserved honour to the 35-year-old Manipuri, whose endurance, perseverance and the never-say-die attitude is unparallel in history.
Sonia Chahal claimed the silver medal in 57kg, while Lovlina Borgohain won a bronze in 69kg. Lovlina pointed out how the New Delhi championship has given the Indian boxers the confidence they needed.
This Championship gave us the confidence that we too can beat the best and we should fear none. We have beaten many top and world champion boxers in the last few days. But we need to work even hard from here on,” said the young Assamese.
Boxing Federation of India (BFI) president Ajay Singh also said that the world body has given full marks to the organization and described it as the best championships ever in recent years.
“They were very happy and it gives us the confidence to go ahead and bid for more tournaments. We will be definitely eyeing to get one of the Olympic qualifying events to India,” he said.
Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh announced that the State government will honour M.C. Mary Kom by conferring an appropriate title in recognition to her unprecedented feat of winning the sixth gold medal in the World Boxing Championship and her illustrious career in the eld.
The title would soon be announced in a grand reception ceremony for the boxing ace, to be organised after her arrival in the State.
The 35-year-old mother of three is the winner of Padma Shree award and several other titles including Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Padma Bhushan etc. Manipur Sports Minister, Letpao Haokip also congratulated Mary Kom, on winning the sixth world championships Gold.
The Olympics bronze medalist belongs to the indigenous Kom tribe of Manipur, which has a population of 15,467 as per the 2001 census.