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Olympic Games - Day 1 review from London
 (with additional reporting from AIBA.org) - August 5, 2012
by Michael O'Neill

An excellent first day’s boxing at the XXX Olympiad here at London’s ExCeL Centre ended with India’s Chungneijang Mery Kom Hmangte, better known as Mary Kom , being the ‘star’ of the show. The five times World AIBA Pinweight (46 kg) Champion had moved up two weights to enable her to take part in this historic event and many wondered if she could reproduce her form of yesteryear for surely nothing else would suffice in a tournament that included such as Cancan Ren of China, GB’s Nikki Adams and Russia’s 2010 AIBA and 2011 European Champion, Elena Savelyeva.
 

 

Well now we know. Mary Kom was greeted with rapturous applause, not only from the large Indian support but from fans of women boxing irrespective of nationality. She faced off against Poland’s talented Karolina Michalczuk, for many years, one of Europe’s elite boxers. The first round was shared, Kom edged the second thanks mainly to a couple of good hooks. All of the telling blows came from the Indian legend. She gradually took control and eased out a deserved 19:14 victor.

A visibly emotional Mary Kom said later : ““This is a fantastic day, it is unbelievable for me to be here, very special. I have been fighting twelve years to get to this point, to be at the Olympic Games. It has been my life-long ambition to get here. My victory is very emotional because not only as am I finally here but it is also my twins’ fifth birthday today and I am missing it. This win is a gift to them”.

Earlier on Sunday, WBAN brought you a comprehensive report on the defeat of leading American hope, Quanitta ‘Queen’ Underwood at the hands of Great Britain’s Natasha Jonas. In Europe it had been widely felt for most of the past year that Underwood was not quite the boxer she was back in 2010 when she fought a gallant fight against Katie Taylor and only narrowly lost. Defeats in the United States and Canada raised some doubts, indeed many experts felt that she was lucky to have gained the verdict over Michaela Mayer at the U.S trials in Spokane.

 

 

Her loss to Ingrid Egner at the recent world championships in China served but to further fuel the belief that she would not be a major threat in these Games - and so it came to pass since Jonas was a very clear cut and deserving winner here and now moves on to face Ireland’s Katie Taylor on Tuesday. Jonas was pretty impressive Sunday but Taylor offers a very different challenge than Underwood. Jonas has never defeated the Bray native, losing 6:3 the last time they met at the Strandja Cup in Bulgaria. Her thoughts on that bout: “"We boxed and I gave her a bit too much respect, because at the time I was quite new on the international scene and I was a bit in awe. But times have changed and I'm 50 bouts on from then, so next time it'll be different."

 

Jonas is looking forward to Monday’s bout with Taylor (2.30pm local UK) : "If you want to be Olympic champion there's not going to be any easy bouts and Katie's a great performer, world champion – she's class. I know her strengths, she knows my strengths, so hopefully the best person will win on the day but I'm going to be ready."

Underwood’s thoughts, are covered more fully in our earlier feature by Julie Goldsticker but will she be supporting Jonas the British media wondered : “I’ll support Katie Taylor in my weight class because I’m not in it anymore. I was looking forward to that rematch. I wanted to get in there with her. That was really my motivation for this fight. It wasn’t the gold yet, it was to get to that rematch with Katie Taylor but now I get to cheer her on, I know she’s gonna bring home the gold.”

“I’m going to keep fighting but I got here to the Olympics this time. “I don’t think it’s in me to stick around for four years. I did what I had to do, I waited around for four years for it to be an Olympic sport. I think it’s time for me to move on to a new chapter in my life. Now, its time to focus on something else.”

Here from our AIBA.org colleagues their take on the remainder of the first day’s boxing at ExCeL:


“ 2010 AIBA World Champion and 2011 European Champion Elena Savelyeva from Russia got proceedings underway in the first of the Women’s Flyweight (51kg) contests versus the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea’s 27-year-old Hye Song Kim. It was Savelyeva, a bronze medallist at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Qinhunangdao 2012, who got the better of the first round with a big right hand the difference at the interval. The Russian edged the second with a solid left hook and took the third with a sweet uppercut. In the final round, the points were shared as she progressed to the quarter-finals with a 12:9 win. 28-year-old Savelyeva will now face top seed and reigning AIBA World Champion Cancan Ren from China.

It was fast and furious in the second bout of the day as Brazilian southpaw Erica Matos went head to head with Karlha Magliocco. It was the Venezuelan who began well as she landed several good hooks to take the first. 29-year-old Matos turned the tide in the second, cornering her opponent and unleashing some good connecting combinations. This unpredictable contest then saw 2010 Panamerican Champion Magliocco regain the initiative as the orthodox fighter dominated the third to take a slender point advantage going into the final round. In the fourth, both fighters went for it and the crowd were up on their feet as punches were thrown from all directions, but it was the Venezuelan who prevailed 15:14 to set-up a meeting with Marlen Esparza of the USA in the last eight.

In the last of the Flyweight (51kg) bouts, Bulgaria’s Stoyka Petrova battled Siona Fernandes from New Zealand in an excellent contest between two top boxers. The 26-year-old Bulgarian made her experience count as she slowly wore down her opponent, scoring more and more as the rounds went by to move into the quarter-finals with a convincing 23:11 win.

26-year-old 2010 AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Cheng Dong from China and Romanian orthodox Mihaela Lacatus were pretty well matched in most departments, with the same build and the same reach. There was not much to separate the two on paper however Dong was out of the blocks much quicker and caught the experienced 30-year-old Romanian, who had come out of retirement to qualify for these Olympic Games, with several good shots in the first round. The points were then shared in rounds two and three with both unable to find a breakthrough. The Chinese stepped it up in the closing stages to wrap up a 10:5 win. She will now test herself against Tajikistan's Asian Champion Mavzuna Chorieva for a place in the semi-finals.

The showdown between Brazil’s Adriana Araujo and Saida Khassenova of Kazakhstan was a contest out of the top drawer with both boxers really going at each other. Khassenova began well but then 31-year-old multiple-Panamerican Champion Araujo slowly picked her opponent apart with more effective punches in the latter stages. In the end, the Brazilian went on to win the bout 16:14 and she will now meet Morocco's Mahjouba Oubtil.

In the last Lightweight (60kg) contest, tall New Zealander Alexis Pritchard faced 31-year-old Rim Jouini of Tunisia. 28-year-old orthodox Pritchard used her jab well in the first round before scoring with some good one-twos to edge it. Jouini came back in the second and upped her work rate, cornering her opponent and unleashing a couple of hard straights to take the round. Pritchard dominated the final two rounds in style, turning it on when she needed to most, with the charismatic Kiwi progressing into the quarter final stages with a well-taken 15:10 victory.

The Middleweights (75kg) were in action next as Kazak Marina Volnova locked horns with 26-year-old Elizabeth Andiego. It was a tour de force by the orthodox Volnova, moving well and looking to land with that deft left hook of hers. Her Kenyan rival struggled throughout with the accuracy of her shots and Volnova confidently won the bout 20:11 after taking each round.

Experienced 32-year-old Swede Anna Laurell battled hard against Naomi-Lee Fischer-Rasmussen, using her reach to throw good hard one-twos. The Australian 26.year-old showed huge heart and determination to try and move inside in order to score points but the Swedish star was clever and countered well to win each round. Laurell advancing to the quarter-finals with a bruising 24:17 win. She will now meet US teenage sensation Claressa Shields.

2008 World Champion Jinzi Li of China started well against the 23-year-old Brazilian Roseli Feitosa, using her power to great effect as she threw some big punches in each round. There was a quality comeback by Feitosa in the final round but unfortunately after losing the first three, it was too late as Li claimed a 19:14 victory.

 

The President of Azerbaijan was in the stands to lend his support to Elena Vystropova in her contest with Edith Ogoke. The Nigerian 21-year-old sprung a huge surprise as he ferocious attacks had Vystropova on the back foot in the first two round, landing some thunderous shots to take both by two points. The experienced Azeri gathered her senses in the third and started to box well with her superior technique clawing back her deficit from four to one point coming into the final round. Ogoke defied the odds as she stood firm and won the contest 14:12.

Join us again tomorrow for Monday’s review of the day’s top bouts at the ExCeL Centre.

 

 
 
 
 

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