Five-time World Champion M C Mary Kom on Tuesday cruised into the 48-kg finals of the Asian Boxing Championships after beating Japans Tsubasa Komura 5-0 to stay on course for her fifth gold medal in the continental event.

The Manipuri pugilist, who is making her comeback to the squared ring after more than a year, used her tactical nous to the optimum. She was on top right from the word go and quickly figured out how to penetrate the Japanese girl’s defence.

Komura maintained a safe distance throughout the opening round, perhaps hoping to put pressure in the next rounds. But Mary still found a way to land her punches and seized the initiative.

“I have been fighting for my country for many years and each time when I start well, that is a good sign. It motivates the others to perform well too,” Mary explained after her bout.

“I would like to thank the President of Boxing Federation of India (BFI), Ajay Singh, for his support. It wouldn’t have been possible without him,” she added.

Mary upped the ante in the second round and landed a barrage of punches to catch her opponent off-guard. With the balance now clearly tilted in favour of her, she adopted the cross-armed guard and avoided anything that was thrown at her to be announced as the well-deserved winner.

The Manipur-born boxing great will next take on the winner of the bout between Jargalan Ochirbat of Mongolia and Kim Hyang Mi of North Korea in the light-flyweight (45-48kg) category final.

“Mary has given has a good start and I am very thankful to BFI and especially our President to bring us back on track and things can only improve from here on after,” the head coach, Shiv Singh said.

Should the ‘Magnificent Mary’, as she is called, win the gold medal, it would be her first Asian gold medal in the 48kg category. The Olympic bronze medallist, also a Rajya Sabha MP, returned to her preferred weight category after competing at the 51kg (flyweight) weight category for five years that was incorporated at the 2012 London Olympics. It was in London that Mary Kom won the bronze medal in the sport.

Mary Kom also had a biographical film made about her life and achievements. Global sensation and superstar Priyanka Chopra played her character in the movie titled Mary Kom which received critical acclaim.

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