When India’s international boxer L. Sarita Devi trades punches with Zsofia Bedo of Hungary on her professional debut at Imphal on Sunday, among those watching will be her three-year-old son Tomthil.
How would Sarita Devi’s son react seeing his mother taking hard punches is bit difficult to say, but certainly he would cherish when his mother takes the upper hand.
Since Sarita’s family has made extreme sacrifices to make her career successful, she feels it’s time to pay the family back. “A win in my hometown shall be the most precious gift I could ever give them,” she says.
During the faceoff, the Indian boxer looked confident, saying she wasn’t scared of her more fancied rival who has played 59 bouts on the circuit.
Zsofia, 29, said, Sarita “is just starting her career and is yet to learn the art of pro boxing”. “Her amateur past is nothing. I have come to win. Maybe everyone (in India) knows who Sarita is, but after Sunday’s bout, they will remember the girl from Hungary, Zsofia Bedo,” she said.
Sarita’s response was assertive. “These (professional) boxers always speak. I have done my training. My coach is among the best in professional boxing. He is monitoring my progress. He is confident. I have trained up to eight hours a day. I am playing for the pride of Manipur. I am playing for the pride of India. I have to give a gift of victory to my fans. Ask her (Zsofia) on Sunday evening, what she will want to say then.”
Sarita said she wasn’t concerned about the reputation of her rival. “I believe in my capabilities. My training has been on expected lines. It gives me confidence to face anyone in the ring,” she said.
To prepare for the bout, Sarita had been training under American Joe Clough for the past fortnight. The Manipuri boxer said that since the contest was taking place in her backyard, it had motivated her to showcase her talent. “It will be one big opportunity to show the power of sport,” she said.
Besides Sarita’s, there are four more bouts on the cards.