London: All eyes would be on MC Mary Kom as she attempts to create history by becoming the first Indian boxer to reach the final in Olympics when she faces Nicola Adams of Great Britain on Wednesday.
The Manipuri boxer's quarter-final win has already assured at least a bronze medal for India, but now she is aiming to bag the coveted yellow metal. Women's boxing has been introduced for the first time in the Olympics and Mary, who has always taken part in the 48 kg category where she has excelled, had to increase her body weight to be eligible to take part in the 51 kg category in the Olympic Games.
Mary had no major threat in her passage to the semi-final so far. She beat Karolina Michalczuk of Poland in the pre-quarter final with a 19-14 verdict and then prevailed over Maroua Rahali of Tunisia 16-5 in the quarter-finals.
Mary Kom attempts to create history by becoming the first Indian boxer to reach the final in Olympics.
In the semi-final bout against the British boxer, the crowd support would be clearly divided, but that should not prove as a detractor on her road to the final. Moreover, the five-time world champion has to maintain her attacking instincts which can come handy at the start of the bout in unsettling her opponent.
Mary in the pre-quarters match against Karolina Michalczuk attacked more than defended which gave her opponent chances to go through her defense, but in the quarters she exhibited tactical boxing where she measured her opponent's every move.
The British boxer, Nicola Adams on the other hand is known for her aggressive boxing as she blanked Stoyka Petrova of Bulgaria 16-7 in the quarter-final match. Moreover, the support of home crowd will come as an added advantage.
Another Indian pugilist who has kept himself in the medal hunt is Devendro Singh who will clash with Paddy Barnes of Ireland in the men's fly weight (49 kg) quarter-final. Interestingly, both Mary and Devendro hail from Manipur and it would be a huge fillip to the sport in the strife-torn state if they progress further in the event.
What has helped Devendro's progress in the Olympics is his attacking boxing right at the outset, moreover he is quick in the ring be it the footwork or with the jabs and hooks. In the Round of 32, he knocked down Bayron Molina Figueroa of Honduras where the referee was forced to stop the bout and in the pre-quarters against a tough opponent like Serdamba Purevdorj of Mongolia he just out-boxed the Beijing silver medallist 16-11.
However, Devendro and Mary need to keep in mind the dubious judgements Indian boxers are facing at the Games. The Indian pugilists have often being at the receiving end of the debatable judgments and some of their appeals being rejected by the authorities.
Vikas Krishan had the misfortune of seeing his result being overturned in favour of his American opponent Errol Spence after he was given four penalties in a controversial bout. Krishan won the bout but later the American was adjudged the victor much to the dismay of the Indian contingent.
There were many other bouts where the Indians felt that the scoring did not go in their favour and even Vijender Singh, the bronze medallist in the Beijing Games, was unlucky in his quarter-final contest against Abbos Atoev of Uzbekistan which he lost 17-13.