NEW DELHI: MC Mary Kom, India's biggest gold medal hope at the ongoing AIBA Women's World Championships here, started her campaign on Sunday with a victory by unanimous decision to progress to the quarterfinals of the 48kg weight category.
The five-time world champion defeated A Kassenayeva of Kazakhstan 5-0 and will now take on Wu Yu of China in the last-eight stage.
Earlier in the day, young Indian boxer Manisha Maun sent reigning world champion Dina Zhalaman of Kazakhstan packing with another authoritative win in 54kg to place herself a step away from grabbing a maiden worlds. medal.
Two other Indians, Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Bhagyabati Kachari (81kg), also made it to the quarterfinals with 5-0 and 4-1 wins on points in their respective pre-quarterfinal bouts.
The 20-year-old Manisha won a 5-0 unanimous verdict against her more experienced rival in a pre-quarterfinal bout in her maiden World Championships. This was the second win for the Haryana girl against Zholaman, having beaten the Kazakh boxer in the Silesian Women's Boxing Championship in Poland earlier this year.
In the quarterfinals, Manisha faces top seed and 2016 World Championships silver medallist Stoyka Petrova of Bulgaria.
"For me, once I am inside the ring, it does not matter whether my opponent is a world champion or a silver medallist. I play my game and do what the coaches told me. So my approach will be the same in my next bout also," she said.
"Today, like in my first bout, I played from a distance but I played faster and more aggressive. It was a good bout."
Borgohain, an Asian Championships bronze medallist last year, had a tougher fight against 2014 World Championships gold winner Atheyna Bylon of Panama. It was a physical and aggressive fight and both the boxers fell on the floor on more than one occasion.
The 21-year-old Assamese next faces Scott Kaye Frances of Australia in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
"It was a tough fight for me. My opponent was tall and strong also. The fitness regime we had at the national camp helped me. I am happy to have won my first World Championships bout," she said.
"My next opponent from Australia, I had done some sparring with her and I know something about her. I hope to win my next bout."
For Bhagyabati, it was even tougher against a taller opponent in Irina-Nicoletta Schonberger of Germany. But the Indian also turned out winner in her debut World Championships bout.
"My opponent was taller than me and so the coaches had told me to keep it low. If I had tried to hit high it would have exposed me and I may have received punches. My strategy paid off," she said.