Women’s World Boxing Championships: Mary Kom, Manisha Maun enter quarters; Sarita Devi bows out
Mary Kom punched her way into the 48kg quarterfinals while another veteran Sarita Devi made an early exit after losing a hard-fought 60kg bout in the Women’s World Boxing Championships.other sports Updated: Nov 18, 2018 22:47 IST
A World Champion in front and the home crowd firmly behind; the occasion could be daunting for any youngster in the ring, but not for Manisha Maun. She revels on the big stage. In the biggest upset of the tournament so far, the 20-year-old stunned world champion Dina Zholaman of Kazakhstan to enter the 54kg quarter-finals of the Women’s World Boxing Championships here on Sunday.
The fans had more to cheer as MC Mary Kom, opening her campaign, advanced to the last eight by overpowering Aigerim Kassenayeva of Kazakhstan in 48kg, with a 5-0 verdict. However, former champion Sarita Devi went down 3-2 to Ireland’s Kellie Harrington in her 60 kg second round.
It was yet another gutsy performance by Manisha, who had beaten Zholaman in the Silesian Open tournament in Poland recently. Against an opponent who was quick, showing explosive speed, Manisha mixed caution with aggression and won by unanimous (5-0) verdict.
The first round was pretty close but Manisha stepped up brilliantly in the next two, using her height advantage against the short Zholaman in landing some clear punches. The Indian also impressed with her defence.
“I do not enter the ring seeing the reputation of my opponent. When I defeated her for the first time in Poland, I did not know she was a world champion. That bout helped gauge her style. I was fast and attacking today while maintaining a safe distance from her as the coaches had instructed me,” said Manisha.
The bantamweight boxer has got one of the toughest draws of the tournament, but she is unfazed. Manisha will have an equally tough opponent next as she meets top seed Stoyka Zhelyazkova Petrova of Bulgaria, who won silver in the category the last time.
Showing old spark
Mary Kom entered the arena to a thunderous applause and left the spectators in awe of her brilliance as she defeated Kassenayeva to enter the quarterfinals.
At 35, Mary Kom is showing no signs of slowing down. Against the Kazakh, Mary’s reflexes were sharp, footwork nimble and her punches packed power. Always on her toes, she moved around the ring effortlessly. She teased her opponent, was quick to evade her attacks, and countered with precision. The powerful right hooks crashed through Kassenayeva’s guard several times. Kassenayeva had lost to Mary in the Silesian Open tournament. Chants of ‘Mary Kom, Mary Kom’ reverberated as she went about her business, later thanking everyone for the support.
Eyeing sixth gold
Mary is gunning for her sixth gold medal, her second at home. She could not have made a better start. The Manipuri will next face Chinese Wu Yu in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.
“There is lot of pressure on me to win another gold at home but I am enjoying boxing now. I love my fans. It is the years of hard work and experience that I put in the ring. I will give my best to win here,’ said Mary Kom.
Later, India suffered their first loss with seasoned Sarita Devi losing to Harrington in a split decision in the lightweight (60kg) category in pre-quarterfinals.
Sarita was unhappy with the decision. “I was unlucky. I thought I had an upper hand in all three rounds but I don’t want to comment further,” she said.
Lovlina, Bhagyabati win
The girls from Assam — Lovlina Borgohain and Bhagyabati Kachari — gave equally enthralling performances in their opening bouts.
Lovlina defeated former champion Atheyna Bylon of Panama 5-0 in welterweight (69kg), coming through a tough bout. Lovlina, who got a bye in the first round, reached the quarter-finals. “My opponent was tall and strong and the physical work out that we have been doing helped me to keep going,’ she said.
Bhagyabati Kachari beat Irina-Nicoletta Schonberger of Germany in a split decision (4-1) in 81kg.
First Published: Nov 18, 2018 22:46 IST