Indian boxing legend Mary Kom’s return to the ring ended in the semi-final of the Boxam tournament in Castellon, Spain when she lost to Virginia Fuchs of the USA in the 51kg bout on Friday.
The Indian boxer went down to American Fuchs, a 2019 world championships bronze medallist, by a 4:1 split decision. Kom will get a bronze medal for her efforts.
This was Mary Kom’s first tournament since the Olympic qualifiers in Amman, Jordan last year in March. The six-time world champion had beaten Giordina Sorrentiono of Italy in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
In the semis, Virginia Fuchs went into the attack early in the bout even as Mary Kom tried to find openings in the American's game.
The veteran’s superior footwork helped Mary Kom avoid the heavy blows. She landed a few on her American opponent.
The American’s aggressive approach did come good in the third and final round, as Fuchs connected with multiple jabs. It left Mary Kom to take even more evasive action and that proved to be the difference at the end.
Mary Kom’s loss was the only one of the day for the Indian boxing contingent as the rest made their way to the final.
The lanky Jasmine, who beat last year’s Boxam champion in the quarters, continued to impress as she defeated Italian Sirine Charaabi via a 4:1 split verdict in the 57kg.
In the 75kg, Pooja Rani triumphed over Rio 2016 Olympian Atheyna Bylon of Panama by unanimous decision and Simranjit Kaur won against Puerto Rico's Kiria Tapia in the 60kg by a split 3:2 verdict.
Vikas Krishan’s champion run
Among the men, two-time Olympian Vikas Krishan got the better of two-time world championship bronze medallist Ablaikhan Zhussupov of Kazakhstan via a 3:2 split decision in the 69kg.
This was after Vikas had beaten London 2012 bronze medallist, and a two-time Olympian, Vincenzo Mangiacapre in the quarters on Thursday. Vikas will be competing in his third Olympics in Tokyo later this year.
Other Tokyo-bound male boxers made it to the final too. Manish Kaushik (63kg) beat Frenchman Lounes Hamraoui 3:2, Ashish Kumar (75kg) beat Dumitru Vicol of Romania 4:1 and Satish Kumar (+91kg) defeated Lithuania's Jonas Jazevicius 4:1. All matches were won via split decision,
London 2012 Olympian Sumit Sangwan beat Raphael Monny of France 5:0 in the 81kg category and Mohammad Hussamuddin, a 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, beat Panama's Orlando Martinez by 4:1 split decision in the 57kg.
Ten Indian boxers -- six men and four women -- had made it to the semi-finals.
A 14-member Indian boxing squad was participating at the Boxam tournament. World No. 1 in the 52kg Amit Panghal suffered a shock exit in the quarter-finals on Thursday. Sanjeet and two women boxers were also eliminated in the earlier rounds.
Of the 14, nine Indian boxers have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.