India's five-time AIBA World Champion, 28-year-old Chungneijang Mary Kom Hmangte, made asuccessful debut on the second competition day of the 6th edition of the Asian Women's Boxing Championships in Ulanbaatar. Two years ago, the Indian star moved up from the 46kg to the 51kg weight class following the announcement of three women's divisions at the London 2012 Olympic Games, where she has looked at ease so far.
It was not all plain sailing however for the Asian boxing icon, Kom was surprised by the level of resistance she faced to progress to the quarter-finals. In the round of last 16, she came up against Thailand's talented flyweight No.1, Asian Indoor Games winner Peamwilai Laopeam. The bout finished 6:4 in favour of Mary Kom but the performance of the Thai fighter really caught the eye and reminded everyone how much the level of competitiveness is rising amongst the women and how the gap between the elite athletes and the others is narrowing. Laopeam will have taken great pride and will now travel to the AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships in China this May, in confidence, with good prospects of achieving that coveted Olympic quota place.
Two-time AIBA World Champion and Asian Games winner Ren Cancan also made a successful debut to advance to the quarter-finals. The Chinese Flyweight boxer dominated her fight against South Korea's 20-year-old Kim Ye Ji, so much so that the Korean corner threw in the towel in the third round.
Another strong flyweight boxer, young Vietnamese Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, selected to her national squad despite her loss at the National Championships, moved into the next stage of the competition after powering past Sri Lanka's 33-year-old Anusha Dilrukshi Kodituwakku, an AIBA World Championships quarter-finalist and AIBA Road to London Program participant.
Philippines' AIBA World Championships bronze medallist and three-time Southeast Asian Games winner, Alice Kate Aparri, was another to change weight class for the forthcoming London 2012 Olympic Games. The experienced Filipino, who claimed a bronze medal at the 2001 Asian Women's Championships, shined in her opening contest and defeated Chinese Taipei's Pin Meng Chieh 15:5.
Nandintsetseg Myagmardulam, one of Mongolia's outstanding boxers, who achieved a valuable silver medal at the last edition of the Asian Women's Boxing Championships in Astana two years ago, stopped the inexperienced Uzbek Nasiba Ruzimatova in the second round of their contest. Despite this loss however, Ruzimatova made history, becoming the first woman from her country to fight in a major international event.
North Korean National Champion Kim Kil Ok showed what a magnificent boxer she is by eliminating the first Mongolian boxer in Ulanbaatar. Kim Kil Ok defeated Tserenchimeg Tserendorj to advance to the next round of the Featherweight class where she will now meet India's two-time National Champion Mandakini Chanu Kangabam for a guaranteed podium finish. The Indian boxer stopped Afghanistan's teenager, Kabul-based Sadaf Rahimi, who made headlines recently with her participation in the AIBA Road to London training camp in Cardiff earlier this month.
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