QINHUANGDAO, China — Celebrated Indian boxer M.C. Mary Kom faced a nerve-wracking wait after a shock defeat at the women’s world boxing championships left her Olympic bid in doubt.
The five-time world champion champion was stunned 11-13 in the flyweight quarter-finals by Britain’s European champion Nicola Adams late on Wednesday, meaning she is now relying on other results to gain a shot at Olympic glory.
“What can I say? I gave it my best but I still lost. I don’t know if I have a chance of reaching the Olympics or not,” said ‘Magnificent Mary’, 29, who was out-punched 11-13 in the fierce encounter with Adams.
“I have to rely on luck, which is not what I wanted. I wanted to win all by myself,” she told reporters.
The diminutive Kom, one of India’s brightest Olympic hopes and a mother of twin boys, has been forced to move up a division in a bid to contest the lightest Olympic category, 48-51 kilos.
But now Kom will now have to wait until after Friday’s semis to see if she will be present when women’s boxing makes its full Olympics debut in London.
Indian boxing fans are also biting their nails over the Olympic bid of lightweight L. Sarita Devi, who is also now waiting for other results to determine whether she will travel to London.
Adams, who now faces Russia’s world champion Yelena Savelyeva in Friday’s semi-finals, joins British stablemate Natasha Jonas in London after she also qualified on Wednesday in the lightweight category.
Eight places in the three Olympic weight categories, flyweight, lightweight and middleweight, are up for grabs at the world championships, with another four awarded to small and developing countries.
The system has caused controversy in Qinhuangdao with Jonas and Ireland’s Katie Taylor complaining that the geographical bias meant some talented boxers would miss out.
“There are so many great boxers out there who deserve to be in the Olympics and we need to showcase the best boxers,” said three-time world champion Taylor, who will contest the lightweight title in London.
China’s hopes of an Olympic medal continue to burn bright after flyweight Asian Games gold-medallist Ren Cancan, buoyed by the home crowd, won her superpower duel with the USA’s Marlen Esparza 16-8.
Two-time world champion Ren, 24, will face Polish veteran Karolina Michalczuk in the semi-finals.