London: After Vijender Singh exited on Monday night from the boxing competition losing his 75 kg quarterfinal against Uzbekistan’s Abbos Atoev, India’s hopes of winning gold or silver from the Excel Arena now rest with Mary Kom.
The 29-year-old, who is participating in the women’s 51 kg category, will fight one of the biggest bouts of her career when she takes on Great Britain’s Nicola Adams on Wednesday afternoon. Nicola is the second seed here.
In an exclusive interview, Mary said: “I am not worried. My toughest fight was the first one against Poland’s Karolina Michalczuk. I have fought Nicola before and I am quite confident. It will be a close fight for sure.”
Nicola, who defeated Mary in their last fight in the world championship by a small margin of two points, has accepted the India’s challenge. After she defeated Stoyka Petrova of Bulgaria quite convincingly at the Excel Arena on Monday afternoon, Nicola said: She is a good opponent. She is five-time world champion and you have to be special to do that. I am hoping when we box that I'll have that bit extra."
Nicola has a lot of respect for Mary. She says: "I beat her in the quarters…it will be a close match, a tough match but I am going to stay focused. I am not going to think about the victory too much because she will have improved, she will be working on things and I'm just gonna take everything as it comes."
The black British girl loves to play to the galleries. Nicola, who has been a small-time actress, did a Muhammad Ali jig during Round 4 on Monday. "I had to get an Ali shuffle in there. It had to be done. I have watched so many of his videos I thought I'd sneak a cheeky one in."
But come Wednesday, it’s going to be a pretty serious affair. "I am going to have height and reach and I am going to use all my attributes," said Nicola.
“I am just keeping my cool. I don’t want to think about the fight too much. If I do the right things, I will win. I just want God to help me keep focus and box the way I can,” said a relaxed Mary on Tuesday.
No doubt, the countdown to the biggest day in India’s boxing campaign in London has begun.