Sofia: Five-time world champion M C Mary Kom (48kg) has assured herself of a third successive international medal by advancing to the semifinals of the 69th Strandja Memorial Boxing Tournament for men and women here on Thursday.
The 35-year-old, who came here on the back of gold medals at the Asian Championships and the India Open, defeated old nemesis Steluta Duta of Romania in her quarterfinal contest.
Mary Kom relied on her sharper reflexes to outwit Steluta, who is a three-time world championships silver-medallist and a four-time gold-winner at the European Championships.
Interestingly, all of Steluta’s world championship silver medals are courtesy losses to Mary Kom in the finals (2006, 2008 and 2010).
Clashing after a considerable gap, the two boxers were locked in a fierce exchange of blows but Mary Kom managed to edge past by keeping her distance and not allowing the Romanian a clear shot for most of the bout.
The competitiveness, however, did not come in the way of mutual respect as the two embraced each other warmly at the end of the contest.
In the men’s competition, Dheeraj Rangi (64kg) bowed out of the competition after losing his opening bout to Louis Colin Richarno.
India are assured of four medals so far in the tournament courtesy women boxers — Seema Punia (+81kg), Saweety Boora (75kg), Mena Kumari Devi (54kg) and Bhagyabati Kachari (81kg).
While Saweety and Meena won their quarterfinal contests, Seema and Bhagyabati got byes.