If Thursday was Mary Kom’s last bow, it would have been a good way for her to leave the ring. Faced with the daunting challenges and the hardships, she went down to the battlefield.
Who can doubt Mary Kom’s heart and strength? But if Thursday was the last bow, it was the right way for him to leave the ring. With high stakes and difficulty placed against him, Mary Kom came down and fought.
In the quarterfinals of the flyweight at the Tokyo Olympics, Colombia’s Ingrit Valencia beat Mary in a 3-2 split. The 38-year-old Indian has been defeated in a bronze medal battle by a narrow margin, despite winning the last two rounds. With the Olympics at the age of 40, Thursday’s exit became his last belt at the event.
The result, of all methods and objectives, was determined in the first round. When the bell rang, Valencia ran to Mary, almost to prove it. If she had resisted the pressure, Mary would have resisted. But Valencia went down after the opening battle, playing a waiting game. In addition to the punches he threw, Valencia impressed with the defenses he defended. Colombia, with sharp footing and clever tricks, made Mary miss. Mary, on the other hand, pressured by a combination of seconds to die, Valencia punched in the space. And that was it.
Valencia took the first round 4-1. By way of scoring open goals at the Olympics, corners know where their boxers stand. Colombia decided to stay ahead, but Mary used years of experience and gear to close the gap. The trade was equal, but it was urgent in his departure. He won the second round with three cards.
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The poles were high – but they never were. Two years ago, Mary had beaten Valencia in the quarterfinals of the World Championship to become the most decorated boxer at the event. Most importantly, it was the first six-time champion in the 51kg Olympics. The plague gained momentum, leaving Mary at a young age, and walking slowly, for a year.
“You have to press if you want to win this,” said director of women’s affairs Raffaele Bergamasco lamenting at the end of the second round. There was no crosstalk frustration. Mary nods, then presses. Her mouth was open, her legs and lungs were burning, Mary kept biting. He kept wanting to open up, keeping the traps of the Colombian man. Three out of five judges thought he had done enough to win the final round.
But the first round of 4-1 was hard to come by.
Valencia deserves all the praise. A smaller, smaller opponent could have been pressured by the event, or he could have been too short and pressed the pedal. Valencia, a 31-year-old veteran, resembles Mary step by step.
She is from Colombia and is very close to Mary Kom. The first female national boxer in the Olympics won bronze in Rio. He grew up gathering firewood and bananas in Morales and hid in a fire that engulfed Aguablanca. At the age of 17, she became a mother and sold a hat on the heads of miners’ hats, removing coal to make a living.
On Thursday, Valencia celebrated endlessly. Several ‘te amo’ in his family, followed by a heart act as long as his voice does not pass. There are rounds to do with the opponents who will beat them. He still needs to win again to earn his second Olympic medal. But all that can wait. He had just hit Mary Kom. That’s not under the medal.