By Prarthana Mitra
The atmosphere was competitive and replete with clenched fists and counterblows at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex in New Delhi, the venue for AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships 2018.
Three days into the biggest boxing event, India’s ten-member contingent is doing well for itself, against 277 boxers from 72 other countries. At least four members of the squad comprising young and experienced boxers made it to the pre-quarterfinals, including Manisha Moun, Sonia Lather, Pinki Jangra and Sarita Devi.
Day 2 recap
On Day 2, boxer Manisha Moun punched above her weight to defeat two-time World Bronze medallist Christina Cruz of the US, in her debut bout at the championships. The 20-year-old rookie cruised into the pre-quarterfinals of the 54 kg weight category with a unanimous result (29-28, 30-27, 30-26, 30-26, 29-28).
“I am very proud of winning my first bout in the World Championships. I have proved that I can be at this stage. I will give my best and see how far I can go. I am confident of doing well in the coming rounds,” said Manisha after her first-round win, preparing to face Dina Zholaman of Kazakhstan on Sunday.
Three wins for India on Day 3
The following day, 21-year-old Sonia Lather defeated Toujani Doaa of Morocco in the 57 kg Women’s Featherweight category to progress to the pre-quarterfinals with a 5-0 win. After having lost her first match, Sonia dominated over her Moroccan opponent in the second, registering another unanimous verdict for India.
Her latest performance elevates her to India’s top contenders for gold in the 57 kg Women’s Featherweight category. The boxer from Haryana won a silver medal in the 2016 edition of the championship, besides having qualified for the finals of Asian Amateur Boxing Championships twice.
On Saturday, veteran Manipuri boxer Sarita Devi put in a good fight to advance into the last 16 of the tournament after defeating Swedish Sandra Diana Brugger 4-0 in the 60 kg Lightweight category. Devi, who emerged as the gold medalist in the 2006 edition, struggled to outclass Brugger, who has also been on the international circuit for a decade, and will now face Kelly Harrington of Ireland in the pre-quarterfinals on Sunday.
Pinki Jangra also scored a superb win over Armenian pugilist Anush Grigoryan (4-1) to reach the pre-quarterfinals (51 kg category).
Apart from Indian boxers giving the championships a flying start, Kelly Harrington beat Troy Garton of New Zealand on Friday. 36-year-old Christina Cruz from New York was the bronze medallist in the 2002 and 2016 edition. Dina Zholaman, who beat Muzuki Hiruta of Japan 4-1, said Manisha Mouna was a “good” boxer in a post-match press conference, recalling how the Indian had defeated her in Poland earlier this year.
India’s poster girl Mary Kom is yet to compete in the ring. Speaking of world title contenders, Virginia Fuchs of the US comfortably entered the quarterfinals late Saturday, registering a win against Crotia’s Anamarija Cvrk.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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