Debutant Satish Kumar sails into Olympic boxing quarterfinals; unlucky Mary Kom bows out

  India's first super heavyweight (+91kg) boxer to compete in the Olympics, Satish Kumar, eased into the quarterfinals of his debut Games, but the iconic M C Mary Kom (51kg) just didn't have luck on her side as she bowed out with a last-16 stage loss here on Thursday.

Satish defeated imposing Jamaican Ricardo Brown in a battle of the debutants, prevailing 4-1, a comfortable win for the 32-year-old Army man despite the split verdict.

Mary Kom, on the other hand, ended up on the losing side despite winning two of the three rounds against Colombia's Ingrit Valencia, an old foe she had beaten twice before this evening.

Satish was the first to take the ring among the two and two-time Asian Championships bronze-winner, who has been a multiple-time national champion, was helped by Brown's poor footwork throughout the bout though he did end up sustaining two cuts -- one on his forehead and the other on his chin.

"He got cuts because of three head butts during the bout. But it was a very measured performance by Satish, he could have been in trouble had Brown connected because he was huge and powerful," Indian boxing's High Performance Director Santiago Nieva told PTI.

Next up for Satish is Uzebkistan's Bakhodir Jalolov, the reigning world and Asian champion. Jalolov out-punched Azerbaijan's Mahammad Abdullayev 5-0 in his last-16 bout.

"He is not unbeatable. Although Satish has never won against him but the last time they fought in the India Open, it was split verdict. He ran him close," Nieva said.

"We would stick to the same plan, avoid the hard punches, get the scores and keep moving. Tire the guy out," he added.

Satish, also a 2018 Commonwealth Games silver-medallist, dominated with his right hand and allowed Brown to repeatedly make the mistake of lunging in with very little balance.

Brown seemed to be looking for that one big punch that could unsettle the Indian but failed miserably, owing to his inability to move quickly enough after launching into Satish.

The Indian, in comparison, was light on his feet and thereby sharper in responding to Brown's attacks.

"The idea was to score and pull back because Brown's power could have been dangerous. Satish did well to tire him out by moving around the ring and it definitely helped that our boy had lighter feet," Nieva said.

The late bloomer from Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr, who used to play kabaddi, was introduced to the sport owing to his good physique by the Army coaches.

The 31-year-old Brown, who is the first boxer from his country to qualify for the Games since 1996, was Jamaica's flag-bearer at the opening ceremony.

He is the co-founder of ''Sensi Juice'', an organic juice company based in Canada.

The juices that are produced by his company are infused with Cannabis.

Brown also worked as a chef in Jamaica till 2014.

Mary Kom took to the ring in the evening session and in a thrilling contest, was finally upstaged by Valencia, who rode her luck and a one-point lead taken in the first round to emerge triumphant.

To her credit, she did seem determined to improve her poor record against Mary Kom.

"I don't know what happened, I thought in the first round, we were both trying to figure out our strategies and I won the next two," said the perplexed Indian legend after the bout.

Mary Kom had tears in her eyes and a wide smile on her face when the referee raised Valencia's hand at the end of the bout, exhausted after the intense clash.

There was mutual respect on display though with Mary Kom offering a warm hug to Valencia, who proceeded to raise the Indian's hand to show her admiration.

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