The Asian/Oceanian Road to Tokyo 2020 Boxing qualifying event in Amman has been treated to a masterclass from one of the great female athletes of recent times, and the host nation saw a fifth boxer move to within one victory of Tokyo 2020 qualification.
Mery Kom won the first of her six world titles way back in 2002, and at 37 she showed tonight that age has no barrier as she brushed aside New Zealand’s Tasmyn Benny in three dominant rounds.
“I love it here in Jordan as everything has been organised so well and I have been made so welcome,” said Kom. “It is such a beautiful country so I should start planning my return with my family!”
Next up for Kom is Irish Magno, from The Philippines, who beat Yin Au, of Hong Kong, and the experienced fighter is taking nothing for granted as she bids to book a place for Tokyo 2020.
“I have nearly 20 years of experience so I know that nothing comes easy and you have to work hard and give 110%, which is what I have been doing and will continue to do,” she said.
Also in the division, Jordan’s only female hope, Reem Al-Shammery, lost her contest to Tajikistan’s Sumaiya Qosimova, who will now fight China’s Yuan Chang, who upset third seed Thi Nguyen, of Vietnam, earlier in the evening.
One of the performances of the night came from Mohammad Al-Wadi who delighted the home fans with a superb 57kg unanimous points win over Lucky Hari, of Indonesia.
Al-Wadi became the fifth Jordanian boxer to move into the quarter-finals courtesy of a blistering win to show he is in the form of his life.
“I felt fantastic tonight,” he said. “All of my family was here watching, including my daughter, so there was no way I would lose. My technique is to attack. I have worked hard with my coach and I promise I will qualify.”
Al-Wadi will now fight Sangmyeong Ham, of South Korea, who shocked the second seed and World No. 9, Tsendbaatar Erdenebat, of Mongolia, in a pulsating bout.
The division’s veteran third seed Chatchai Butdee, of Thailand, faced few problems in beating Ian Bautista, of The Philippines, and he will now meet Van Nguyen, of Vietnam, who stopped fellow teenager Charlie Senior, of Australia.
Elsewhere in the evening session, one of the stars of the tournament, World and Olympic men’s 52kg Champion, Shakhobidin Zoirov, cruised through to the quarter-finals with a unanimous points verdict over Indonesia’s Aldoms Sugero. Next up for the World No. 2 will be Iran’s Omid Ahmadisafa who beat Murtadha Al-Sudani, of Iraq.
Thailand’s Thitisan Panmot upset former world bronze medallist and third seed, Inkyu Kim, of South Korea. He will fight Alex Winwood in the quarter-finals after the Australian beat Hong Kong’s Chun Tam.
Team Jordan will once again take centre stage on Sunday, with no less than three fighters in quarter-final action during the morning session.
Zeyad Ishaish will be in action first in the 69kg weight, followed by Odai Hindawi in the 81kg, with Hussein Ishaish featuring later in the session in the 91kg division.
A win will not only book them a place in the last four, but also a spot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this summer.