Indian boxer L Sarita Devi made her professional debut in style on Sunday, upstaging Hungary’s ZSofia Bedo in the Indian Boxing Council (IBC) Fight Night at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in the Manipur capital. Sarita won by a unanimous decision.
Zsofia, 29, and India’s former world and Asian champion had engaged in verbal sparring since the announcement of the bout, but it was Sarita, 31, who ruled the ring in the lightweight division, bout backed by her home fans.
The win was an emotional affair as her family members were present ringside as she traded punches with her Hungarian rival.
“The victory was sweet as I outplayed an experienced boxer. The sacrifice made over the past decade has paid off,” an elated Sarita said.
Among India’s leading boxers in the last decade, Sarita’s career had nosedived at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games after her one-year ban by the world body for the amateur sport, AIBA. It punished the Indian boxer for refusing to accept the bronze medal in protest against judging in her semifinal bout against her opponent, representing hosts South Korea.
Sarita said the Incheon Asian Games incident was very painful, but starting the season with a win will be the launch pad for the future.
Pinki Jangra justified her giant killer tag in her first pro bout, defeating Claudia Ferenczi of Slovakia by a unanimous verdict in the four-round flyweight clash. Pinki, trained by US coach Joe Clough for the bout, dominated Claudia, who had 77 pro bouts behind her.
In men’s heavyweight, veteran Som Bahadur Poon scored a knockout win over Manop Siththiem of Thailand, wrapping it up in four minutes, 30 seconds.
In the superwelter IBC national champion title, four-time champion Siddharth Verma defended his title with a technical knock out of compatriot Jaganathan. The contest was stopped after Jaganathan injured his thigh muscle.
In a lightweight men’s bout, Vipin Kumar of the Army was knocked out by Mubarak Sseguya of Uganda in the third round.