Thursday, April 18, 2024

Women throwing the punches

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THE WORLD’S BEST are already justifying why they are labelled such.
Reigning world champs Chungneijang Mary Kom of India and Poland’s Karolina Michalczuk safely progressed out of the first round  at yesterday’s historic opening day of the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships at the Wildey Gymnasium.
The two highlighted the event’s afternoon session, as the title contenders all advanced without scare during 20 bouts in the 48kg and 54kg categories that preceded the event’s momentous opening ceremony.
It was business as usual for Kom, women’s boxing’s most decorated athlete, while comfortably dismissing Sweden’s Natalie Lungo Vesenne 10-1 on points, around the same time Michalczuk beat Oxana Koroleva of Kazakhstan in an adjacent ring.
Contesting her first ever 48kg bout, the Indian marvel more than lived up to the legend, dictating the fight from the opening bell with a series of body blows to the overmatched Swede.
And the bout quickly became a rout when Kom began to follow her southpaw jabs with quick hooks from the opposite hand, resulting in a 7-0 points disparity by the end of the second round.
The four-time champ scored on just four more punches thereafter as Lungo Vesenne countered off her sound defence, but that only afforded the Swede a single point in the fourth round.
Michalczuk had a similarly easy time of it in her 54kg bout, with Koroleva failing to cope with the European queen’s power for the duration of the four two-minute rounds.
The result provided the Polish camp with some solace following Pekalska Ewelina’s earlier defeat at the hands of Russia’s Svetlana Gnevanova in the same ring.
Trinidad and Tobago – the lone Caribbean country to contest an afternoon bout – had no such chance at redemption when Stephanie Allen went down 14-7 on points to the rangy Jenny Smith of Australia.
Allen never handled her opponent’s superior reach, refusing to get in on the Aussie’s body and allowing Smith to comfortably work her left-hand jab.
An initial 5-1 deficit soon became a telling 11-2 hole once Smith started to double that jab in the second round, before the Aussie survived Allen’s brief flurry in the final stanza.
Title contenders in the 54kg category, silver medallist Sarah Ourahmoune of France, Brazil’s Erica Matos and Myong Kim of the People’s Republic of Korea all progressed out of the first round.

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