London: India's medal contender M.C. Mary Kom stormed into the quarterfinals of the women's flyweight category (51 kg) in the boxing event of the Olympic Games with a comfortable 19-14 victory over Poland's Karolina Michalczuk at the ExCel arena, here on Sunday.

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Known as 'Magnificent Mary', the five-time World Champion dominated proceedings from the start and gave a superb exhibition of aggressive boxing to outpunch the Polish in her opening bout.

Thanks to the few lethal blows the Manipuri unleashed on her Polish opponent, Mary set up a last-eight date with Tunisian pugilist Maroua Rahali.

"It was a good way to start, the whole country was praying for this win. There were lot of people of all religion who were praying for me and I am happy that I have crossed the first hurdle," Mary said after the win.

With a seizable Indian crowd cheering for her, the 29-year-old Mary went into attacking mode straightaway as she unleashed a flurry of punches, but her Polish rival defended well, not allowing the Indian to score many points in the first round which ended 3-3.

In her eagerness to take a decent lead in the very first round, Mary tripped and fell down but she did not allow that to affect her concentration.

Mary began to consolidate her position from the second round onwards which she won 5-4, but again lost her balance and fell to the ground.

However, the turning point was the third round, in which she rained blows on her opponent - a world No 5.

A couple of good left-right hook combination with a fantastic left upper cut fetched her seven points to the Polish girl's four.

The lead of 15-10 after the third round proved to be decisive and the Manipur girl did well enough to hold on to the cushion.

Although she looked jaded in the final round, Mary still managed a couple of right hooks to get four points and, with her opponent being equally tired, that helped her cause as Karolina was unable to pull things back.

Mary got plenty of support from the crowd, mainly the Indians,  who kept chanting 'India, India' and 'Mary Kom, Mary Kom' as she kept herself in medal reckoning.

"It was tough as it was the first bout of the Olympics. It was the first Olympics for me and it is a very good experience," the Indian added.

Considered as one of India's best prospects, now only a Tunisian stands between Mary and a medal.


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She is India's lone flag bearer and a gold medal hope in women's boxing, as it makes it historic Olympic debut in three weight categories.

The 29-year-old Manipuri is the lone Indian woman boxer in fray at the mega-event after making the cut in the only qualifying tournament -- the World Championships in May earlier this year.

The mother-of-two, who is also a multiple-time Asian champion.
The Indian, who was made the face of International Boxing Association's campaign to get women's boxing included in Olympics, needs to win just two bouts to be assured of a medal and first up for her is Michalczuk.

Michalczuk, a 32-year-old, won a bronze medal at the World Championships this year.

The boxer has been forced to train without her American coach Charles Atkinson, who has been denied access to the Athletes Village as he does not have the International Boxing Association's 3 Star Certificate for coaches.