M C Mary Kom became the first Indian woman boxer to clinch a gold medal at the Asian Games after she came from behind to beat Kazakhstan’s Zhaina Shekerbekova in the flyweight (51KG) summit clash.
The lone Indian boxer in action on Tuesday, Mary Kom defeated Shekerbekova 2-0 in a evenly-contested battle in which the Kazakh had the initial advantage.
The five-time world champion and Olympic bronze-medallist, who had won a bronze when women boxers made their debut at the 2010 Asiad, shifted gears with ease to come out triumphant in the final analysis.
Seemingly vary of her rival in the opening round, Mary Kom preferred to keep a distance and invited Shekerbekova to launch the first attack. The Kazakh, however, did not fall for the bait and back-peddled smoothly to outwit the Indian in the opening two minutes.
However, never the one to give up easily, Mary Kom reworked strategy and stunned Shekerbekova with her aggression in the second round. Combining her hooks with uppercuts to Shekerbekova’s torso, Mary Kom drew level albeit on a split decision.
The Manipuri mother-of-three, who has been christened ‘Magnificent Mary’ by the International Boxing Association for her unprecedented feats, began to dominate in the third round and dictated the pace of the proceedings.
Shekerbekova could not come to grips with the tactical shift in Mary Kom’s game and could only respond by holding her opponent frequently, for which the referee cautioned her.