Mary Kom continues her incredible amateur career for at least one more fight.
The legendary 38-year-old from India also known as "Magnificent Mary" fended off a stiff challenge from Dominican Republic's Miguelina Hernandez to take a split decision win Sunday afternoon at Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.
Hernandez won by 29-28 on the dissenting card, overruled by scores of 30-27, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 in favor Kom who sealed the deal with a strong final round.
Kom—a mother of four, 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist and six-time amateur champion—announced prior to the Olympics that she would retire from the sport after her Tokyo run. Her time divided between her family, the sport and her role in India Parliament, Kom headed to Tokyo with the intention of taking a victory lap.
Hernandez had other ideas, coming out strong in the opening round and landing her straight left out of the southpaw stance. Kom fought largely from the outside, her defense and ring generalship enough to win the round on three of the five cards.
Action was nip and tuck in round two, another frame where the judges were split and with the fight very much on the table heading into the final three minutes.
Kom came out firing at the start of round three, with Hernandez holding down her head to prevent the incoming. The tactic drew a hard warning from the referee. Two-way action ensued, with Kom remaining a step ahead to ultimately prevail.
Awaiting Kom in the Round of 16 is number three seed Ingrit Valencia (Colombia).
GINNY FUCHS (USA) ADVANCES TO ROUND OF 16
Virginia "Ginny" Fuchs posts the first win for the U.S. female boxing representatives following a three-round split decision over Svetlana Soluianova (ROC). Full recap here: https://www.boxingscene.com/ginny-fuchs-outlasts-svetlana-soluianova-advances-womens-flyweight-round-16--159375
NINA RADOVANOVIC (SERBIA) UD3 MANDY BUJOLD (CANADA)
Mandy Bujold had to appeal her case to the highest sanctioning body in Canada in order to earn her second Olympic berth. The historic moment saw her fight on her 34th birthday, though the celebration dampened as she was eliminated from competition by Nina Radovanovic (Serbia), Sunday morning at Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.
Radovanovic won by scores of 29-28 on four cards and 30-27 on the card of Moroccan judge Bachir Abbar.
Bujold became the first female boxer from Canada to serve on two separate Olympic teams, having competed in 2016 Rio. She took time off from the sport soon thereafter, starting a family with her husband Reid as she gave birth to their daughter in November 2018.
The time off for maternity leave was held against her in the Boxing Task Force rankings, a decision she appealed first to the IOC before taking the battle to the CAS before being granted a slot in late June.
It was a long-fought battle only to bow out in the opening round of competition. Radovanovic—an active pro who is 14-4 and is a former IBO titlist—consistently found a home for her straight right hand, finding the target as Bujold was often wide with her punches despite her aggressive instincts.
Radovanovic was ahead 20-18 on four of the five cards heading into the final round. She did not sit on her lead, continuing to land the heavier blows as Bujold was unable to get her timing down.
With the win, Radovanovic will next face Ornella Havyarimina (Burundi), who received an opening round bye.
Stoyka Zhelyazkova Krasteva (Bulgaria) will face Fuchs in the Round of 16 after posting a hard-fought—if not debatable—split decision win over Thi Tam Nguyen (Vietnam). Krasteva won 29-28 on three cards, offsetting scores of 30-27 and 29-28 in favor of Nguyen.
Charley-Sian Davison (Great Britain) cruised to the second round of competition following a clean win over Rabab Cheddar (Morocco). Davison pitched a shutout on four cards (30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-24) while settling for a 28-27 tally on the card of Cuba's Wilfredo Vazquez who inexplicably awarded a 10-8 round two in favor of Cheddar.
Tsuzuki Namiki kept the momentum going for hosting Japan, taking a three-round unanimous decision win over Catherine Nanziri (Uganda). Scores were 30-27 on all five cards in favor of Namiki, a mobile southpaw who advances to next face Brazil's Graziele Sousa.
Giordana Sorrentino becomes the second member of Italy's Olympic team to advance to the round of 16 after outpointing Irismar del Valle Cardozo (Venezuela).
Sorrentino won by scores of 30-27, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 and 29-28 and will next face number-four seed Hsiao-Wen Huang (Chinese Taipei) on Thursday, July 29.
Uzbekistan's Tursunoy Rakhimova rallied from an opening round deficit to outpoint Poland's Sandra Drabik in the first women's flyweight bout.
Rakhimova won by scores of 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 and 29-28; Drabik won 29-28 on the dissenting card turned in by USA judge Andrew Mustacchio. She will now go on to face Buse Naz Cakiroglu (Turkey), the bracket's number-one seed in the Round of 16 on Thursday, July 29.
Irish Magno is the second member of the Philippines Olympic team to advance to the Round of 16. Her placement comes courtesy of a three-round shutout of Kenya's Christine Ongare.
Magno won every round on all five scorecards—30-27 on four cards and 30-26 in the eyes of judge Sidai Mokretari (Algeria) who awarded the Filipino with a 10-8 score in the third and final round.
Next for Magno is Thailand's Jutamas Jitpong, who outpointed Algeria's Roumaysa Boualam. Jitpong won by scores of 30-27, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 and 29-28 to claim the unanimous decision win.
Jitpong was cleaner boxer throughout the contest, though her work not properly rewarded as the fight was even on three cards heading into the final round. A clean sweep of all five cards in the final three minutes preserved the win.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for @BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox